The Brandeis GPS blog

Insights on online learning, tips for finding balance, and news and updates from Brandeis GPS

Tag: Brandeis GPS Student Experience (page 1 of 4)

Defining My Career Goals with Brandeis GPS

Contributed by: Rachel McAllister, MS in Digital Marketing and Design Candidate (2022)

During my time as an undergraduate at Brandeis, I majored in Film, TV and Interactive Media. Through that major, I became exposed to the technical aspects of film and became interested in visual storytelling. As I looked into options for a post-grad program, I steered my search into the Brandeis GPS programs.

The Rabb school was offering seniors the option of taking two GPS courses during their senior year to accelerate their path to a potential master’s degree. Excited about this opportunity, I decided to take two courses in the MS in Digital Marketing and Design program. Digital marketing is a large part of today’s social and business climates, as it uses digital technologies for storytelling, communication and to market products and services. So, the program appealed to me as both a creator and a soon-to-be Brandeis alum.

It was then that it became clear to me that the Digital Marketing and Design Program was the best fit for my needs. Not only was I able to complete two of the required courses as an undergrad, but I also had schedule autonomy as the program is fully online. Due to the acceleration options I was offered as a Brandeis undergrad, I have the opportunity to complete the program in just three, 10-week sessions.

As a Brandeis student who went straight from undergrad to the master’s program, I advise all students who are looking to do the same or who are just interested in trying out new classes, to take advantage of this unique opportunity! My career goals to work in digital marketing for media have been more clearly defined since taking my first two GPS courses.

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Rachel McAllister is a candidate for her Master of Science in Digital Marketing and Design (2022) and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Film, TV and Interactive Media from Brandeis (2021).

Why I Chose Brandeis GPS

We know that pursuing a master’s degree can be overwhelming, particularly for students who work full-time and are already balancing professional and personal commitments. We also know that every student has a unique reason that drives him or her to return to school and complete their degree.

 Hi, I’m Zanefa Walsh, a Brandeis GPS alum. I’m usually a private person but decided to share my why for pursuing the MS in Digital Marketing and Design because little did I know that the decision would be a stepping stone to where I am today: a digital communications and social cohesion consultant.

The fully online program, which consists of courses such as digital marketing strategy, writing for digital environments, and multichannel marketing campaigns, appealed to me during a time when I wanted to expand my knowledge to better meet the increasing marketing needs of my employer, which at the time was Brandeis. As soon as I learned that employees received 100% tuition remission, I started to explore courses even though I worried that adjusting to online learning would be challenging. I was delighted to learn that GPS offers the opportunity to take up to two courses before deciding to apply to a graduate program. After taking the two courses, I felt invigorated by the high-quality instruction and collaborative environment, that I applied.

I already had a master’s degree from another school, but the second time around as a graduate student differed from my first experience. I was now a mother, married, and working full-time. Finding ways to balance these conflicting responsibilities was essential. Yes, there were times when stress levels were high,  but it was my discipline, an invaluable support system, and effective time management that got me through the three-year journey. 

While expanding my knowledge was a major reason why I pursued this degree, deep down, it was so much more. My why was to prove to myself, and possibly other women of color, that taking on new opportunities and challenges leads to growth, whether you succeed or fail. No one else is as invested in your personal and professional growth as you. A year after completing the degree, I grew so much so that I had the confidence and determination to start my own consulting business in 2019.

With the knowledge gained from my GPS courses, along with over 15 years of work experience in the digital space, I now know what it takes to successfully conceive, produce, and execute a diverse range of data-driven multichannel marketing and communication strategies that build awareness, drive engagement, and foster a sense of belonging/community. Without a doubt, my decision to pursue a graduate degree at Brandeis GPS had an immediate and life-changing impact on my life.  

For more information on the Digital Marketing and Design program or other online master’s degrees available at GPS, please visit brandeis.edu/gps.

Fall Semester Update

Dear Members of the Brandeis Community,

Brandeis University has announced a comprehensive plan to safely reopen campus for the fall semester. The COVID-19 Task Force, which included faculty, staff, and students, consulted with local, state, and national public health and medical experts to develop this plan for the university’s fall semester. Below we have highlighted important plan information that is of particular interest for our students here at Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies.

Available Facilities

While all Brandeis GPS classes are online, there are facilities available to our students on the Brandeis University campus. These include the library, gym, and mailroom, among many others. While these are available to the Brandeis community, there are strict health and safety measures that are required for all of those who enter campus. Access to these facilities are subject to change, and we will keep our students updated as the semester progresses.

Health and Safety Measures

Based upon public health best practices and accommodations for individual community-member needs, the university is implementing the following policies and procedures to create an on-campus environment that is as safe as possible:

High Frequency, Universal Testing: Brandeis will provide high-frequency, mandatory COVID-19 testing to all on-campus community members.There will also be mandatory testing multiple times per month for all students, faculty, and staff who either live on campus or who come to campus several times per week, regardless of symptoms. This will enable us to quickly identify and contain any instances of infection on our campus.

Public Health Protocols: The university will institute a suite of public health measures, including symptom monitoring, mandatory face masks/coverings indoors and outdoors, public hand-sanitizing stations, and mandatory physical distancing. We will also ask all individuals who return to campus to sign a community commitment to follow such protocols.

Cleaning Enhancements and Building Modifications: The university is also taking actions, such as enhanced cleaning protocols and changes to foot-traffic flow through buildings and on-campus pathways, to ensure that all campus spaces and buildings support the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff.

These are just a few of the many health and safety measures that are being implemented across campus.

Resources

For more information regarding the reopening of Brandeis this fall semester, please visit the following links:

Letter from the President

Campus Health and Safety Measures

Fall 2020 Plans Webpage

COVID-19 Task Force Report

The best discounts for online students

From retail to technology to travel to entertainment, student discounts provide you with many ways to save. At Brandeis GPS, all students receive student ID cards that you can use in addition to your .edu address to obtain discounts. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best discounts available to graduate students:

Retail:

Whether you’re looking for professional attire or something to wear on the weekend, you’ll want to check out the following student deals on clothing and other items:

A with an arrow

AmazonUsing your student (.edu) email, get 6 months of free Amazon Prime Student (trial) then 50% off the annual Amazon Prime subscription fee. Get unlimited free Two-Day shipping as well as special offers and promotions.

EXPRESS: Get 15% off both online and in-store. Simply register and verify your student status with UNiDAYS.

J.Crew:  Get 15% off in-store purchases with a valid student ID.

Tommy HilfigerGet 15% off your online purchase by confirming your eligibility through SheerID.

Nike SwooshNike: Get 10% off your online order by verifying your student details through SheerID.

Travel:

One of the benefits of an online graduate program is that you can do your work from anywhere. For discounts on the go, read about the following student travel deals:

CheapOair.comFind cheap tickets and save big with CheapOair’s student deals and promotions.

Logo for American AirlinesStudentUniverse/American AirlinesStudentUniverse and American Airlines have teamed up to offer students great prices for inexpensive travel. See link for more details.

E-Z Rent-a-Car: Save 10% using the code 7192E. Coupon expires on 01/01/2019. See link for participating locations.

Electronics & Technology:

Technology is essential for students, especially those taking courses online. Here are some top discounts to use for completing coursework and beyond:

Microsoft and window logoMicrosoftStudents can get Office 365 for free (including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and now Microsoft Teams, plus additional classroom tools) and save $200 on Surface Pro and Surface Laptop plus 10% off Surface accessories.

AdobeGet over 60% off Adobe Creative Cloud All Apps plan in your first year.

DellSave on select computers and earn up to 6% back in rewards through Dell University. Get free expedited shipping on your purchase as well as other exclusive offers.

News & Entertainment:

We know you have a life outside the classroom and may want to take some time to relax and stay updated on relevant news. Here are some ways to stay connected:

Bloomberg Businessweek: Students can get 12 weeks of all-access and digital access for $12.

Round red circle with the economistThe Economist: Students can get 12 weeks of print and digital subscription for just $12.

The New York TimesStudents can save on print and digital subscription. Get 4 weeks free then $1 a week for Basic Digital Access.

The Wall Street JournalGet up to 50% off the annual student rate or pay $15 for 15 weeks.

The Washington Post: All students are eligible for a 50% discount on digital subscriptions. Sign up with your .edu email address and verify with SheerID to activate the Academic Rate.

Green circle with 3 lines and spotifySpotifyPay only $4.99 for Spotify Premium, Hulu Limited Commercials, and SHOWTIME. Simply provide your student email when prompted during registration.

Learn more details and read about other student discounts available here.

 

If you’d like to learn more about other benefits of a Brandeis GPS education, contact our admissions team at 781-736-8787 or gps@brandeis.edu

How to “master” online graduate school over the summer

From kindergarten through undergrad (and even some graduate programs), students around the world look forward to getting outside and enjoying the summer sun.  For part-time, online graduate students however, “school’s out for summer” doesn’t necessarily apply — and this can be a very good thing.

Non-traditional graduate programs will often offer summer terms in addition to the standard fall and spring semesters. These options allow students who are working full-time the opportunity to complete their graduate programs even more quickly.

Brandeis GPS offers four 10-week sessions each year, with classes beginning in July, October, January and April. The upcoming July 2018 session, which is technically called Fall 1, runs from July 18 through Sept. 25.

Computer and drink at the beach

Some students may balk at a course that overlaps with scheduled vacation and travel, but taking classes from July to September doesn’t have to hinder any of your exciting summer plans. GPS courses are fully online and asynchronous, meaning that students can access their coursework from any location and timezone. Here are some tips for balancing your course load with your summer beach trips, European excursions and mountain views:

  • Plan as far in advance as you can and be realistic. Read through the course’s syllabus right away to take note of your big assignments, final projects, and exams. Check your calendar to see if you have any important events or travel coming up during the term so you can manage your time around them. If you know you’re spending a week away or have a particularly busy weekend coming up, plan to complete your readings or discussion posts as early as you can. Be honest with yourself about how much time you’ll need for your coursework each week, and build a schedule that’s feasible for you.Sunset over the water
  • Take advantage of technology. Your online courses are mobile-friendly. Keep your mobile devices charged, and take advantage of courses that offer textbooks you can download to your favorite e-reader.
  • Don’t be afraid to disconnect. Summer travel will often involve long plane, train, and car rides with little to no WiFi access. With some advanced planning and downloading, you can take advantage of these long blocks of time to catch up on your coursework, so when you arrive at your destination, you can relax and enjoy yourself.

Good luck to everyone taking our Fall 1 courses, starting in July! For more information on GPS courses or graduate programs, contact gps@brandeis.edu or 781-736-8787 or check out our website.

Brandeis GPS student to receive national award for achievements in health and information technology

The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) will award GPS Health and Medical Informatics student Jill Shuemaker with the Richard P. Covert, PhD, LFHIMSS Scholarship for Management Systems, a national award recognizing her contributions to the field of health and information technology in 2016.

The award coincides with Shuemaker’s emergence as a national expert in health and medical informatics. As a registered nurse with Virginia Commonwealth University Health System, Shuemaker developed a patient-centered, analytic, teamwork-based approach that single-handedly ensures her organization’s electronic quality measure program fully meets federal regulatory requirements. She also advocates on a national level for advancing patient care through sound measurement design, implementation of quality program changes and vendor accountability.

Jill Shuemaker

Jill Shuemaker, a Brandeis GPS Health and Medical Informatics student

“HIMSS is proud to honor individuals that have made significant contributions to our mission of improving health through the use of information technology,” JoAnn W. Klinedinst, M.Ed., CPHIMS, PMP, DES, FHIMSS, vice president, professional development, HIMSS North America said in a press release. “Congratulations to all of the award and scholarship recipients for their achievements and for their skills and expertise focused on improving health and healthcare through the best use of IT.”

Shuemaker is currently enrolled in the Health and Medical Informatics graduate program at Brandeis University’s division of Graduate Professional Studies. As a part-time, fully online student, Shuemaker continues to advance her career as she works to improve and transform the healthcare industry.

In addition to her work as an RN, Shuemaker is a Certified Professional in Health Information Management Systems (CPHIMS) and Co-Chair of HIMSS National Quality and Safety Committee, where she interacts directly with clinicians, technical staff, and even federal officials on a routine basis.  She will officially receive her award later this month at the HIMSS annual Awards Gala in Orlando, Florida.

About Brandeis GPS

Brandeis University’s Graduate Professional Studies division (GPS) is dedicated to bringing an exceptional graduate education experience to adult learners across the country and the world. The division’s catalog of 12 fully online, part-time master’s degrees and certificates represents today’s most innovative industries, offering students opportunities to advance in management, technology, data informatics, marketing and other fields. With small classes, a convenient and flexible approach to online learning, and faculty who are leaders in their industries, GPS fosters a community that is mindful of its students’ professional, academic and personal commitments. As a leading research university and member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Brandeis fosters self-motivated, curious students ready to engage new experiences and global endeavors. The university is widely recognized for the excellence of its teaching, the quality and diversity of its student body and the outstanding research of its faculty.

GPS student wins big at Brandeis Innovation’s SPARKTank competition

Brandeis Bioinformatics student Donald Son and his team of entrepreneurs took third place in last Sunday’s university-wide SPARKTank competition, an annual live-pitch event hosted by Brandeis Innovation.

Competing against 12 other groups seeking seed funding to bring their startups to market, Son’s team received $10,000 to further their work on Green Herb Analytics (HerbDx). The California-based facility uses analytical chemistry, software integration and medicinal cannabinoid biology to provide quality assurance lab testing and ensure that the product entering the market is safe for human consumption. The startup also seeks to establish an innovative, cutting-edge brand with affordable prices.

While Son himself does not use cannabis, he has a personal connection to unregulated supplements and medicines and their impact on public health.

Brandeis Innovation SPARKTank - Brandeis GPS Online Education - Brandeis GPS Blog“I take herbs to manage my chronic fatigue syndrome and was initially concerned about what I was putting into my body,” said Son. “During my own research, I came across cannabis just as it was being voted on for recreational use in California. I felt the need to ensure the safety of this product to the consumer.”

HerbDx plans to put its seed funding toward a small lab space, a mass spectrometer to optimize pesticide testing, and to advance production and marketing efforts. Outreach efforts will include an increased digital and social media presence, partnerships with special interest groups, and visibility at trade shows and conferences.

About SPARKTank
SPARKTank is a live pitch event where Brandeis entrepreneurs compete for seed funding in front of a live audience. Thirteen teams comprised of Brandeis students, faculty and staff pitched their innovative ideas to a panel of industry judges with the hopes of receiving a portion of the $50,000 grant pool. The pitches included startups, technologies and entrepreneurial ventures, which demonstrated the extensive breadth of entrepreneurial spirit at Brandeis University.

How to be a Productive Online Student

Online master’s degrees at accredited universities have become increasingly popular over recent years. Many programs, like the ones offered at Brandeis GPS, cater to professionals who are working full time and are seeking a degree to move the needle on their career. Truly asynchronous programs – where students aren’t required to log into a class at a certain time – allow students to set their own schedule when it comes to their academic study.  But for some online learners, the lack of structure can be a challenge. Below are some tips to help you achieve the perfect work-life-school balance while pursuing an online degree.

Schedule Your Time
Schedule your school time just like you would schedule an appointment or meeting. Consistency can be key. And don’t forget to get creative with your study time. Have a long train ride as part of your commute? Take care of your weekly readings while you ride. Drive to work? See if your text book has an audio version and listen in the car. Find a regular time to do your coursework, and soon it will become a part of your daily routine.

Find Your Place of Productivity
Ask yourself when you are most productive. Perhaps it’s on that long train ride where you easily focus. Are you most productive on Sunday afternoons while sitting in your local library? Do you enjoy staying in your pajamas and doing work from your kitchen table? There is no right answer as everyone has different zones of productivity. Make sure the space where you want to work is available and distraction-free in advance. You will get everything done a lot faster if you go in knowing this is your time and place for coursework.

Take a Break
If you have an assignment deadline approaching, you may be tempted to come home after a long day of work and open your computer to get your schoolwork done as quickly as you can. Don’t do that – you want to put your best foot forward! Separate your job from your coursework, take some time to relax, go to the gym, or eat a snack. Keep your brain power focused on what you’re doing so you can achieve results that make you proud.

Participate and Stay Engaged
In an online classroom, it is easy to keep quiet and only participate when necessary. Don’t take that approach: you’re here to learn, after all! Schools like GPS intentionally offer small classes to foster engagement and collaboration among your peers and instructors.

Stay tuned for more tips on how to be a productive online student, and don’t forget to reach out to your advisor or instructor for guidance.

Brandeis University’s Graduate Professional Studies division (GPS) is dedicated to developing innovative programs for working professionals. GPS offers 11 fully online, part-time master’s degrees and one online graduate certificate. With three 10-week terms each year, Brandeis GPS provides exceptional programs with a convenient and flexible online approach. Courses are small by design and led by industry experts who deliver individualized support and professional insights. For more information on our programs visit the Brandeis GPS website.

Why your work experience can make or break your grad school application

Whether you’re fresh out of your undergraduate studies or have been working in your field for many years, your professional experience is an incredibly important piece of the Graduate Professional Studies application process. We ask our applicants to provide a resume (or curriculum vitae) and letter of recommendation because these documents not only help tell your story, but they show us that you have the background and expertise to excel in our programs.

Tips for making your resume pop

The admissions committee wants to see your work experience, skills, and strengths. Here’s how to make your resume pop:

  • Highlight your skills: Even if you haven’t been working in your field for all that long, it is important to include any skills that are relevant to the program you are applying for. For example, do you know any programming languages? Is there a particular social media tool you have a lot of personal or professional experience with?
  • Provide detail: Have you ever been told to limit your resume to a one-page maximum? We want to see your accomplishments! Don’t limit yourself because you’re afraid of taking up too much space.
  • Previous coursework: Have you recently taken a course that is relevant to your program of interest? What about a professional development course and/or training session?
  • Previous work experience: Did you take the lead on a major project at a previous job? Did you head a research project? Don’t forget to include details about your previous work experience.

If you are not sure you included everything, ask a co-worker to read your resume over and make some suggestions.

<<start your GPS application>>

Deciding who should submit your letter of recommendation

Another important part of the application process is the letter of recommendation. We ask that you submit one letter of recommendation from an employer or supervisor. Here are some tips when deciding who should write your letter:

  • Previous supervisor or boss: Did you just start a new job? Are you currently not working? Don’t worry, you can submit a letter recommendation from a previous employer or supervisor. You can address your current work situation in your statement of goals.
  • Recent graduate: Did you recently graduate? Are you still searching for a job? Ask someone who supervised you on a research project to write your letter of recommendation. Provide a letter of recommendation from a supervisor where you did an internship. If you volunteer, ask the person who oversees the volunteers to write your letter.
  • Submit two letters: Do you have a supervisor and a manager who can speak to your different skills? While only one letter is required for admission, feel free to ask them both to submit a letter of recommendation.

The admissions committee understands that we have a diverse group of applicants. Our applicants range from recent graduates to those who are many years into their career. The most important part of the recommendation letter is that it is written by someone who has supervised you or seen you work as part of a team.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about the application process.

Conquering your application to graduate school

Faces of GPS | Rebecca Weiss

Rebecca WeissOne of the greatest parts of my job is that I am always working with applicants, no matter the time of year. While my counterparts in admissions offices at other universities may have one busy season leading up to their fall application deadline, here at GPS, we have rolling admissions throughout the year and three entry points: fall, spring and summer.

What sets GPS’s admissions process apart is the holistic view that we take when evaluating candidates. Since all our applicants are part-time students and full-time working professionals, we do not focus solely on the typical set of numbers that are associated with graduate school admissions: GPA, GRE, GMAT, school rank, etc. I would like to share a few other factors about what makes GPS unique – these are things that folks should definitely keep in mind as they’re considering pursuing a master’s degree:

  • No GMAT or GRE! If you decide to apply to GPS, do not worry about these exams: we do not require them for admission. We don’t feel like they speak to the nature of what is required to excel in our programs.
  • Experience matters. While some applicants may have studied an undergraduate major relevant to their desired graduate program, many have not. Make sure to highlight your skills, certifications and expertise in your application! (Please note that some programs may have specific requirements, which you can see by clicking on your program of interest here.)
  • Show *and* tell us. The statement of goals is an important piece of our application. We want to know why you are interested in your desired program, what experiences led you down this path, and the goals you hope to achieve through your desired program.
  • Why wait? We have rolling admissions, so while Dec. 13 is our spring 2017 deadline, once your application is complete, we provide you with a decision within 2-3 weeks. This gives you ample time to choose spring courses, connect with your student advisor, and plan out your degree.

<<Start your GPS application>>

I love speaking with our applicants, so please feel free to contact me over email, phone, or if you live in the Boston area, in person! Applying for a master’s degree is a big decision, so I am happy to talk you through the steps and answer any questions you have.

Rebecca Weiss is the Assistant Director of Admissions and Recruitment at GPS, and with her four years of experience in the office, she has a lot of great advice to offer prospective GPS students.

Faces of GPS is an occasional series that profiles Brandeis University Graduate Professional Studies students, faculty and staff. Find more Faces of GPS stories here.

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