This week, our goal here at Career and Professional Development is to help students learn how to prepare them for the career goals and allow for them to learn and decide if graduate school is the right path for you. For guidance, we interviewed ​Katherine Brackmann ​who is the ​Assistant Director, Graduate & Professional School Engagement.

Tell me a little bit about yourself and your job at Career and Professional Development

Katherine: Since graduating from Gonzaga in 2010, I am excited to be back here and helping students here in CPD! I work with students who are interested in pursuing graduate programs, and how they can fit that into their career paths. Some specific things that I help with include helping students understand the ins and outs of applying, perfecting their resume, help with writing personal statements, understanding the interview process, and how to search for schools that will be a perfect fit.

How can students who are interested in a graduate school start preparing now?

Katherine: It is important to think about whether grad school fits into your career plans. To help with your decisions or start preparing now, you can network with other professionals in your industry of choice and learn about their career paths and see how they got to where they are today. Not only that but you can also connect with mentors and other faculty members here at Gonzaga as well!

What are the benefits of attending graduate school?

Katherine: Oftentimes attending graduate school is mandatory to pursue a specific career, but also it can deepen your knowledge on a specific field. This will enhance your job prospects, give you the opportunity to gain more experience, and increase the potential of gaining an increased salary because of the increase in positions available to you. Not only that, but attending graduate school can open the door to a change in career path as well.

How can CPD help jumpstart students who are interested in this path?

Katherine: To start, we will discuss how graduate school fits into a student’s ideal career goals. From there, we will look into the application process depending on where they want to go. It is important to discuss application timelines, and also we will help them connect with industry professionals as well as Zag Alum! In our meetings we can offer feedback on applications, interview tips, and help you search for which schools will be the perfect fit for each individual student. Set up a meeting with us on ZagsIgnite, and let’s chat!

Given that our entire world has gone digital, it is so much easier for students to connect with admission reps all over the country.

Katherine BRackmann

How can students still get involved and start exploring, despite the COVID restrictions?

Katherine: Given that our entire world has gone digital, it is so much easier for students to connect with admission reps all over the country. Remember this! Don’t be afraid to get in contact with the school. Get out there and talk about you, and your goals, and learn about what each school can offer you. Especially in a time like this, graduate programs may be offering incentives for people to apply!

What is the most important thing for students to remember when looking into graduate school?

Katherine: The most important thing for students when looking into graduate school is to know your why. Why is this the path for you? How will this better you? Not only that, but staying organized and knowing deadlines is extremely important during the application process. This will help you avoid the stress! Lastly, know your resources. Career and Professional Development is always here to help, faculty is here to answer questions, and know your options financially as well.

What is the best piece of advice for students applying to grad school?

Katherine: Timing is everything. Giving yourself time and grace with everything during the process because it varies with each person. This might be taking time to work and grow professionally and personally which is very beneficial before you further your education. It is vital to remember that everyone is on their own timeline and allowing yourself to reflect on your own timing and finding what you need to do to reach your goals.