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Master of Accounting Admissions: Chronicles of My Quest to Secure a Graduate Assistantship

I was hoping to file this blog post a week after I announced with much fanfare my return to the weekly blogging I had been doing until I went missing in action for several months. I must confide to you that my long absence from the blogging world has had a somewhat corrosive effect on my blogger’s soul. You ought to however concede that it is often a little challenging to resume normal activity after an extended period of interruption. I therefore ask you to bear with me as I slowly but surely get reacquainted with my muse. I started the first semester in the completion of my master of accounting a little over two weeks ago and so far I have been very pleased with the way each of my professors goes about delivering the lecture. I will even go farther and say that I am surprisingly impressed by the human touch that has characterized most of my interactions with the faculty and staff members of the University of West Georgia (UWG). I have been so used to being treated as a number throughout my previous experiences at other universities that I initially found it odd that the human factor played a primary role in the way services are provided to students at UWG. This shouldn’t have come as a surprise because this is what ought to be expected out of any educational institution or service provider. I sure hope I keep on getting pleasantly surprised by members of the staff and faculty here at UWG.

As things stand right now, I can say without any reserve that I am very happy I chose UWG to pursue my Master of Accounting degree. I am particularly pleased with this choice as I completed my application file less than four weeks before the deadline.  At the time, I already had received five formal admission decisions, four of which were favorable but none of them came with a much anticipated Graduate Assistantship appointment. In a previous post entitled Graduate Business School Admissions: The Waiting Game, I explained that financial aid would be the decisive factor in deciding which school I would en up enrolling at. That is the reason why, very early in my school search process, I only shortlisted MAcc programs located within less than 50 miles radius of a major metropolitan area (employment and networking opportunities) and that not only have a clearly defined GA program for first year students but also that have easily attainable admission standards as they related to my profile as an applicant. I did firmly believe that scoring 620+ on my first and only attempt at giving the GMAT, graduating with an overall GPA flirting with 3.0, writing compelling admissions essays, securing terrific academic and professional recommendations, and submitting a respectable resume would all have sufficed to very easily earn me a GA appointment at each school I applied to. Unfortunately things did not turn out to be that way. Let me give you a very concise summary of what actually happened.

In a nutshell, none of the schools that made me an offer of admission was willing to tell me where I stood on my GA applications. They all kept jerking me around, I could never get a straight answer out of any of those schools. I was really disappointed that none of the schools was making any effort to be forthcoming with me. I ended up getting so frustrated by the treatment I was receiving from those institutions that I decided to cease communicating with each and every one of them.Through all those tumultuous times, I never allowed my faith to weaken. I kept on praying for the outcome I hoped for: receiving a GA appointment with benefits that would substantially cover the cost of a Master’s degree in accounting. It’s been my personal experience that I have a much higher success rate in achieving my goals when I make room in my plans for God as opposed to when I don’t. The month of April 2010 was about to come to an end when it occurred to me there still was one last institution with which I still had to complete the application process. That institution in question was the University of West Georgia. However, I needed to proceed without wasting any additional time because the deadline to have all application materials submitted for the fall admission was June 7. I managed to have everything turned in by the end of the first week of the month of May.  While I waited for one more admission decision, I kept snooping around the website of UWG to learn everything I could about all the financial aid possibilities. That was how I found out that out of state MBA/MAcc applicants with both an analytical writing test score over 3.0 and an overall score above 480 on the GMAT would be eligible for a full out of state tuition waiver.  After all I had gone through with the other schools I had applied to, I was on the brink of catching a big break. The admission decision from UWG came in the mail in late May and not only was it was favorable but a full out of state tuition award also came along with it. I could not help but accept the offer because it was in fact the best one I had received up to that point. Now that I knew which school I would enroll at for the fall, I could focus on cold calling the various academic departments of the university to inquire about possible GA opportunities. It didn’t take me too long before I identified very promising leads. To cut the story short, I ended up receiving three GA offers and the rest is now history. What a relief that was, my prayers were favorably answered and my perseverance rewarded.

The lessons that I learned from my graduate school admission experience can be summarized in just a few sentences. If you are interested in obtaining a GA, it is of the utmost importance that you start your school search process and standardized test (GMAT/GRE) preparation at least a year before your anticipated term of entrance. You also need to cast your net very wide in selecting the programs you would like to enroll in. As opposed to targeting two or three universities, make every effort to shortlist anywhere between 7 and 10 institutions. That will be the best way to hedge your bets. Be mindful of not getting personal because it is all business. No matter what happens, good or bad, keep your cool and just keep on plugging away. Also, make an effort to be proactive as opposed to being passive. Passivity is not going to get you anywhere. Last but not least, make a room in all your endeavors for The Lord: “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Rms 8:32).

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