Saturday, September 10, 2011

Honing Those Research Skills

Six contenders.

I contacted four of the schools on my short list today, and have plans to talk to one of my doctor's mom next week. (When I went in for an annual visit, he'd mentioned I should contact her, because her school has the program. They do-and the research population I need.) She responded to my email within the hour, which is much better than the non-response from the inquiry to the program director last month.

While I didn't expect a prompt response from anyone, and was pleased at the one I got, I did some important research. What kind of expenses are covered, what courses are included in their programs (I'd scanned earlier, but this was more comprehensive), what do they need in their application packet, when it is due, and what GRE scores are acceptable.

The scores listed all were lower than the low range of my GRE 'score' on the old scale, so that's good. The application packets all want two or three references and a sample of writing, either a published article or graduate level paper. Believe it or not, I've only got three of those to choose from, so it narrows things down. Two of the six do not ask for recommendation letters, but two want three letters and the rest want two.

The earliest deadline in December 1st, the last February 15th. My goal is to have all of them out Thanksgiving week.

Then I dug a little deeper, looking at the vitaes of professors, sussing out the research they've done and what curriculum area piques their interest. No one has combined instructional technology and special education or Aspergers. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it means I will not have a mentor who is familiar with both. I can always have a co-chaired committee, but it's good to know going in that I'll have to do the same research in the psychology and special education departments of each school to look for that second mentor.

Tonight, Ed and I went out to dinner with Chef and spoke with him about where things stand. His first choice was in Virginia, just based on his wants. We explained that it all hinges on how much it will cost to live where we go, whether his brother has services in place and what kind of money will be stipended.

As is typical, I have a spreadsheet running of everything I need.

It's strange to be looking, because I really like where I'm at, the faculty challenges us at the Master's level, they ask questions that don't have simple answers. They added the Autism graduate certificate, so I know I can add a dissertation committee member who can be a huge resource on the needs of that student population.

At the same time, I know I owe it to myself to see what else is out there, to see if my research is something that another school will say "We've wanted to do something along these lines, but we didn't have a passionate candidate." I won't know unless I seek them out-and that was the purpose of today's research expedition.

Usually, I'm up for moving, trying something new, going someplace different. Yet, deep down, I know that we probably aren't moving-and that's a good thing.

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