Engineering dept seminar offers grad school advice

“It’s never too late to start thinking about grad school, but it’s also never too early,” said engineering professor Christopher Hartemink. Hartemink was speaking to a large group of engineering students gathered at the “Graduate School in Engineering” seminar he co-led with fellow professor Fred Haan on Oct. 8. 

Hartemink spoke to Chimes about his advice to underclassmen engineering students. “Start thinking now about what you can be doing in the next few years to prepare for graduate school,” he said. 

Haan and Hartemink presented a list of some of the things students should consider, which included costs, current romantic relationships, and whether they desired a master’s degree or a PhD. Also, they noted that most programs offer stipends to live off while in the program. 

The seminar also addressed the topic of elite graduate schools. Calvin does have alumni at institutions including MIT, Georgia Tech, and Stanford. However, as the speakers were careful to stress, it is important for engineering students to choose a graduate school that aligns with their research interests, instead of making their decision based solely on rankings. 

After being accepted into graduate school, engineering students can expect to work harder than they did in college, according to the speakers, who pointed out the importance of self-discipline. 

Hartemink spoke to Chimes about the Calvin engineering program’s graduate school acceptance rate. Although he was unable to offer an exact percentage as the department doesn’t collect those statistics, Hartemink noted that in his four years of teaching at Calvin, the conversations he has had with students focus on choosing between school offers, not failure to be accepted.