New Web community to aid grad school applicants

(U-WIRE) WASHINGTON – Students applying to law and graduate school next year will have extra assistance from cyberspace, thanks to a powerful new research tool. A new Web community called GradSchoolNumbers.com aims to make the application process less stressful for prospective students.

“School admissions counselors have a prerogative to sell their program but they may not be the people to look to for the most accurate assessment of the program” says Web site founder Clifton Kornegay. “We wanted to make the application process more open, and give students a place to exchange information with other applicants.”

Kornegay and co-founder Andy Redman, both former University of Texas students, came up with the idea after their own experience in applying to grad school. The two realized the need for a centralized place to connect both current and future graduate students. The new site provides insight on everything from nursing to law school.

“When I applied to graduate school it was extremely stressful for me,” Kornegay says. “I couldn’t just get on a plane to travel to 10 different programs. But if there is an archive where people can have a look at what the school is all about, it makes the process much easier and people are more aware going into it.”

Complete with test preparation information, school ranking data, essay tips and message boards, post undergrads will be able to get the scoop on nearly every graduate school in the U.S. free of charge. Another feature is a link where students can plug in different information and see their probability of acceptance to specific programs. For even more detailed information, users will also be able to read insiders’ Web logs, or blogs, of students already enrolled in graduate or law schools.

“Everything I write, I target to myself a year ago when I was going through the process,” says blogger Michael Zezas. “I want people to know that there is a whole myriad of factors involved in deciding what grad school to go to. It’s not strictly name recognition.” Zezas is a first year public affairs grad student at the University of Texas.

Blogger Michael Wilt hopes his thoughts will give aspiring students a better idea of everyday student life.

“It’s so hard to capture when you are not there,” says Wilt, a second year law student at the University of San Francisco. “I want to relay my experience as much as I can so that someone can almost live that grad school life before they attend it to make an informed decision.”

An estimated 2 million students are enrolled in graduate school today, and the Web site is set up to handle them all. The site allows for 100 thousand users at a time.

“A lot of people see graduate school as the next step because they may not be ready for a job, but it’s an important next step in your life,” Wilt says. “GradSchoolNumbers facilitates the process much more quickly and easily because it’s all in one area.”

Next year, Kornegay and his team hope to provide information for undergraduate college applicants, including more affordable test preparation materials for the SAT. The Web site address is: www.gradschoolnumbers.com.

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