McNair Retreat - TRIO Student Support Services

Wisconsin Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel

McNair/SSS Graduate School Retreat

Friday, September 30 and Saturday, October 1, 2016

Chula Vista Resort, Wisconsin Dells, WI

Featured Presenter: Donald Asher

Donald Asher

Donald Asher is one of the nation’s foremost authorities on the graduate school admissions process. Tens of thousands of students have seen his lectures, tapes and teleconferences. He is the author of numerous books including Graduate Admissions Essays, the best-selling guide to graduate admissions.

Participant comments from the 2015 WAEOPP McNair/SSS Graduate School Retreat

 “I believe Don Asher answered many of my questions about graduate school and completely changed my perspective of the whole graduate experience!”

 “This was amazing!  I feel so much more encouraged and also overwhelmed at the same moment.”

 “Don Asher was amazing!  I feel as if I am ready to send out emails to the department faculty of schools I have an interest in and to start my statement of purpose.”

“Immensely helpful!  Inspirational and a healthy dose of fear/anticipation.”

Workshop Topics

 Getting Into Graduate School  

Why earn a graduate degree?
Challenges of 1st generation and underrepresented students in graduate school
How to discover the top programs in your field of study
How to select the right program for you
Three main ways to make your application stand out against the competition
How not to “freak out” about the GRE
The reasons some 4.0 students are not admitted and some 2.8 students are and receive funding
How to represent low grades, low GRE scores and other difficulties in the best possible light

Funding Graduate School

Funding for graduate school:  fellowships, assistantships and other funding sources

Statement of Purpose

How to write a truly outstanding statement of purpose
Five techniques that will improve any student’s essay
How personal should the statement of purpose be: sciences vs. humanities
What type of help you can get with preparing your statement of purpose:legitimate vs. illegitimate help

Application Considerations

How should you complete the application form?
What information is requested and why?
Why do these types of details really matter?

Conference Agenda 

Friday, September 30

4:00 – 7:00 PM                       Registration
5:00 – 6:30 PM                       Dinner
5:30 – 6:30 PM                       Graduate Student Panel
6:45 – 8:00 PM                       Breakout Sessions

1) SSS and EOP Students
2) McNair Students

8:30 – 10:00 PM                     Social/Networking at the Waterpark

Saturday, October 1

7:45 – 8:30 AM                      Breakfast
8:30 – 9:15 AM                      Developing Your Pitch/Networking
9:15 – 9:45 AM                       Break/Check Out of Hotel
9:45 AM – 12:00 Noon         Session: Getting Into Graduate School and Getting Funded
12:00 Noon – 1:00 PM          Lunch
1:15 – 3:00 PM                        Session: Writing the Statement of Purpose and Application Considerations
3:00 – 3:15 PM                       Break
3:15 – 5:15 PM                         Session: Words of Wisdom and Wrap-Up
5:30 – 7:00 PM                       Dinner On Your Own
7:00 – 9:00 PM                       Debriefing With Program Staff/Planning for Sharing upon Return to Campus

Registration Information

The registration fee is $195.00 per person
The fee includes all meals, materials and sessions.

WAEOPP does not accept credit cards.  Payment must be made via check.  Invoices will be provided upon request.

Registration is due Friday, September 16, 2016.

 Refunds will not be granted for registrations cancelled after Wednesday, September 21 as the meal count is due to Chula Vista on that date.



Hotel Information

You are responsible for making your room reservations.

Chula Vista Resort, Wisconsin Dells, WI
Phone: 1-877-917-3831
Please refer to booking ID# D15717 when making your lodging reservations WAEOPP McNair/SSS Retreat

The cutoff date for room reservations at the conference rate is Friday, September 16

Room Rates:
$125.00 per guest room – tower accommodations
Each guest room contains 2 queen beds
The daily resort fee and Green Initiative Fee are waived.

Please check with Chula Vista prior to your arrival regarding the hours the waterpark is open.  Retreat participants are invited to arrive early on Friday, September 30 to take advantage of the waterpark facilities.

Each person registered in a guest room will receive a complimentary waterpark pass.

All guest rooms and meeting room areas have complimentary high speed wireless internet.

Guest room rates do not include the current tax of 12.25%.

If your institution is tax exempt in the state of Wisconsin, please provide a hard copy of the

tax exempt status at the time of check-in.

Reservation Deposit:  All lodging reservations require a one night deposit plus taxes and fees at the time the reservation is made.

Payments can be via credit card, check or approved purchase order.  No personal checks are accepted at check-in or two weeks prior to arrival.

Reservation Cancellations: Reservations cancelled 72 hours or more in advance of arrival will receive a refund less a $25.00 processing fee.  All cancellations will receive a cancellation number to verify the time, date and accuracy of the cancellations received by Chula Vista.

Cancellations inside the 72 hour cancellation period will forfeit the full deposit amount.

All reservations made inside a cancellation period are considered non-cancellable will forfeit the full deposit amount.

The room rates are available three days prior and three days after the Retreat.

Check-in time is 4:00 PM; check-out time is 10:30 AM.

Chula Vista’s website:


Retreat Contact

Nancy Harrison             

Director, Student Support Services and Student Support Services STEM,

University of Wisconsin Oshkosh