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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Hiatt fair exhibits post-grad options

Published: October 17, 2014
Section: News

Representatives from a multitude of post-graduate programs set up tables and showed what they had to offer students at Brandeis University this Monday. The event was designed to entice students interested in pursuing advanced degrees in both the legal and professional world. Many of the representatives were enrolled in the programs they were advertising. They pitched schools included Harvard, Princeton and Boston University, as well as Brandeis’ own Heller and International Business schools.

Students had the opportunity to speak with representatives at their tables, as well as attend smaller discussion sessions that gave specific advice based on the degree in question. The event was sponsored and organized by the Brandeis Department of Pre-Law and Graduate School and the Hiatt Career Center. The Brandeis Pre-Law Society, a student club, co-sponsored the event.

“This is the first year that we have expanded the reception to include degrees other than a [Juris Doctor],” said Pre-Law department head Lauren Dropkin in an interview. “Specifically this is the first year that we have hosted professional schools for Brandeis students interested in fields such as social policy.” Many of the programs featured were the first step towards a master’s degree in business (M.B.A.), an increasingly popular field, said Dropkin.

According to Dropkin and others, the greatest obstacle in setting up the event was the fear of low attendance.

“Once the word got out about the event, many schools and programs asked to attend,” said Hiatt Center Director, Andrea Dine. “The thing is, Brandeis students have so many interests there is no surefire way to make sure people come. A student may be wary of coming to a fair because they do not want to limit themselves, and then miss an important opportunities,” Dine said. She stated that if students demonstrated interest, Hiatt would do similar events in the future. Dine was not sure if these events would include departments other than Pre-Law. Dine and Dropkin estimated around 60 students attended the fair.

“This is my second fall here at Brandeis,” said Dropkin, who received her undergraduate degree from Brandeis in 1995 before receiving her law degree from the University of Illinois. “So I’ve been sure to utilize resources like UDRs and student clubs, and of course Facebook.”

The smaller discussion circles were also a new addition to the fair, which had occurred in the past as a law-specific event.

“The group discussions are designed to allow students to learn in-depth about each degree they may want to pursue in the future,” Dropkin said. After splitting into groups, the students’ discussions with program representatives lasted about 15 minutes, after which they could switch rooms and hear about a different degree.

Cary Weir-Lytle, an associate director at Hiatt, advised students to develop a relationship with on-campus advisors, whether they had attended the fair or not.

“[Hiatt] likes to encourage students to attend these kind of events because it can allow them to explore their interests,” Weir-Lytle. “But if anyone ever feels overwhelmed or just wants an introduction to the process, we are always here.” Among its many services, Hiatt offers workshops on resume-building, interviews and direct contact with programs or possible students. In addition to specific one-time meetings with counselors, Hiatt is also able to set up students with specific counselors who will work with them over a long period of time.

For students interested in pre-law and the other offered fields at the fair but could not attend, Dropkin advised them to talk to their graduate counselor or look at the websites of either Hiatt or the graduate school department. The event concluded with further mingling and refreshments.