The students, two seniors and a sophomore, attended the University of Minnesotas Graduate and Professional School Day, sponsored by the Career and Community Learning Center (CCLC) in the universitys College of Liberal Arts.
Upon arriving at the Great Hall in Coffman Union, the universitys commons area, the students received numerous items from the CCLC offering advice on preparing for graduate or professional school.
Inside the Great Hall, 84 booths, each manned with pamphlet-pushing representatives, were decorated with photographs and flags and adorned with contact forms and candy.
To an untrained eye, the event would have been indistinguishable from a high schools college fair. However, these booths were occupied by a diverse range of graduate school and professional representatives.
St. Olaf attendant Jenny Vaydich 04 wondered how the CCLC chose their representatives, observing that there was overwhelming legal representation. In fact, law school representatives occupied 25 of the 84 booths.
The majority of the remaining booths were occupied by representatives of graduate schools as close as Augsburg, Hamline, or St. Catherines and as far as NYU or the University of Miami.
Some booths represented specialized programs (the University of Minnesota, for instance, occupied 14 booths for each of its different schools) while professional representatives from such organizations as the Peace and Marine Corps occupied booths as well.
While attendant Erin Davidson '04 agreed that going to the event "would have been more helpful as a junior," Vaydich argued that as a junior, the event would have been more overwhelming than helpful.
"I was so discombobulated," she said.
Now however, Vaydich feels that the event "gave [her] a more clear game plan" in terms of approaching the application process upon receiving her test scores.
The CCLCs online resource, www.cclc.umn.edu/GSD, offers a complete listing of participating institutions along with links to those institutions homepages. The website also includes links to helpful graduate and professional school application resources as well as CCLC contact information.
The day offered direction and detail, helping students from various campuses explore the world of graduate schools that exists outside the realm of college.
And while the various booths and representatives helped students to further understand and navigate themselves within the context of this environment, at the end of the day, the St. Olaf students said that they were glad to return to campus knowing that they were ready for the road ahead.