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Getting What You Came For: The Smart Student's Guide to Earning an M.A. or a Ph.D. Paperback – April 11, 1997


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Getting What You Came For: The Smart Student's Guide to Earning an M.A. or a Ph.D. + Graduate Admissions Essays, Fourth Edition: Write Your Way into the Graduate School of Your Choice
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Rev Sub edition (April 11, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374524777
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374524777
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,380 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“This is an excellent book. I don’t know how Robert Peters was able to assemble all this highly relevant and valuable information after only one pass through the system known as graduate school, but he has produced a definitive piece of work.” – Dr. Gene Woodruff, Dean of the Graduate School, University of Washington, Seattle, President of the Association of Graduate Schools, Chairman of the GRE Board

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Customer Reviews

I found this book to be very informative and complete.
El Ess
I highly recommend this book for anyone who is thinking about going to graduate school for a masters or doctoral degree.
codester
This book will help you ask the right questions and plan for academic success.
Carla Mays

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

234 of 235 people found the following review helpful By Monica J. Kern VINE VOICE on March 6, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a college professor, I am always on the lookout for a good source to help undergraduates who are contemplating getting a Ph.D. as well as to help graduate students succeed in their Ph.D. program. This book is one of the best in this genre I have come across. Although the author is a biologist, it is clear he has done his homework on other disciplines, and his advice is useful for graduate students in any field.
One of the most impressive features of the book is its comprehensive coverage. From improving one's credentials to get into a graduate program to getting a job once you have the Ph.D., Peters has detailed, entertaining advice for all the steps one encounters along the way. Liberally sprinkled through the book are anecdotes from students in a variety of fields that will leave most of us thankful that we did not have the Ph.D. advisors these poor hapless souls did.
Indeed, there were only two aspects I wish the book would have covered but it did not. First, there is no mention of handling coursework in a graduate program. This is probably because coursework and course grades are of much lower priority in graduate school than it is for the undergraduate degree, but I think Peters could have made this point and encouraged readers not to fall into the trap of spending more time on coursework than is warranted.
Second, I wish Peters had devoted more space to talking about getting academic jobs. College-level teaching is still the single most popular career goal for Ph.D.'s, and there are aspects of getting an academic job that are different than applying for jobs in the private sector. I wish he had written a separate chapter on academic jobs.
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83 of 84 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
I bought this book in 1997 before starting a masters program. I had a JD and thought that getting a masters would be a piece of cake. Was I wrong! However, at least with Dr. Peters' book in hand, I knew what to look out for, what to concentrate on, and what not to spend my time worrying over. Like an idiot, I tossed the book when I finished my masters program because I thought I'd gotten 'what I came for.' Now I'm applying to Ph.D. programs and knew that this was the ONE book I had to have before starting on this journey. My thoughts were borne out when a respected professor friend recommended the book. When I said I'd not only read it, but had just bought my SECOND copy, I knew from his face that he knew I was serious. Getting What You Came For offers a great service. I thought I knew about academia, but again, the law school experience is not the graduate school experience. Because of Dr. Peters' advice, I made a point of getting out of my intellectual shell and worked on developing a true network of colleagues. Two years out of a rigorous masters program, I continue to be in contact with a large number of classmates and professors - professors who know me, are supporting me in my Ph.D. applications, and who have developed into real friends.
This book isn't supposed to be read in one sitting and not every section will be applicable to every reader. Some sections are more helpful once you're in school, as opposed to the applications process, some are more helpful to doctoral students. However, much of the book is applicable to most people. There are sections on issues relevant to minority, women, international, and mature students. Most guides assume the reader is a 28 year old white American male. If you don't fit this profile, your experience will be different. Dr.
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67 of 70 people found the following review helpful By T. Hooper on February 10, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Are you planning to go to graduate school? If you are, this is a necessary guide which gives you all the basics--from applying to graduation and beyond. One of the most important points is that you have to prepare for graduate school early. Don't wait until after you're accepted to choose your advisor. You shouldn't even apply until after you select your advisor. This point of advice saves a lot of heartache later on, because having a good relationship with your advisor is one of the single most important things in graduate school. If you have a suitable advisor, graduate school will go more smoothly.
Another thing I like is that it doesn't try to sugarcoat the graduate school experience. It tells you exactly that graduate school is a rough experience and that out of all the people who enter graduate programs, only 8% go on to academic work. If you can't face these facts, then you probably aren't driven enough to succeed in a graduate program. If you're still burning for higher education and are willing to face the difficulties involved, you're ready for graduate school. Basically you should go in with both eyes open. I recommend picking up this guide to help you through your postgraduate life.
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Gregory McMahan VINE VOICE on May 23, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One needs three things to succeed in any graduate program, and they are an interesting topic for research, the necessary facilities and resources to pursue the topic, and finally the money to pursue the topic of interest. Although I agree with Peters when he says that one should attend grad school only if one needs an advanced degree for career advancement, he neglected to mention that having an interesting, doable topic for your research can make the difference between a heavenly or hellish grad school experience.
In twenty-four highly detailed, readable, and often (darkly) humorous chapters, Peters shows the reader an excellent way to play the academic game as a traditional graduate student. Bear in mind, however, that there are other options to obtaining the graduate degree. When considering the decision to obtain a graduate degree, one can choose from a variety of colleges and universities. Furthermore, one can obtain an advanced degree in any number of ways, thanks to advances in technology and a changing social and corporate climate. In today's red-hot economy, many companies offer continuing education for free, and will even foot the bill for an advanced degree to retain workers. Rather than quitting a good job to attend grad school and put up with a lot of stress and abuse for the prospect of making peanuts (if you're lucky enough to get funded) and an uncertain career future, one could, depending on the field of study, work while going to school. That way, you get the education without sacrificing the salary, experience, promotions, networking opportunies and career contacts.
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