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You might call it a two-hour, open-house-styled, how-to crash course: “Pursuing and Obtaining a Graduate Degree 101.”

GradSchool Fest 2011 is set for 4 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 5 in Reeve Memorial Union, room 201. The event is open to any students, alumni or community members with an interest in preparing for, pursuing and earning a graduate degree.

The free, open forum will spotlight University of Wisconsin Oshkosh graduate programs and student support options to give participants an opportunity to meet graduate school faculty and staff one-on-one.

“The biggest benefits for someone to attend is valuable information about all of the graduate programs at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, as well as workshops about the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), personal statement development, the financial aid process, personal portfolios creation and career opportunities,” said Aaron Knapp, a graduate research data analyst with the Office of Graduate Studies who has been helping coordinate and promote GradSchool Fest.

The long-lasting power of a graduate degree is coming into clearer focus ever year.

Bureau of Labor Statistics research shows the number of jobs that require a master’s degree “will increase by nearly 20 percent between 2006 and 2016, nearly twice the rate of growth expected for all occupations,” according to the Council of Graduate Schools.

Beyond the benefits of higher earnings, research and data also have shown earners of graduate degrees enjoy greater employment stability and even overall improved health and wellness.

UW Oshkosh already has amassed a strong graduate school resume, boasting more than 12,000 alumni. It is the largest graduate school of the comprehensive universities in the UW System.

Knapp said GradSchool Fest will serve as a valuable primer for anyone curious about taking a next educational step.

“Overall, the event is a holistic representation of graduate education at the University and will give attendees a better understanding of the graduate educational possibilities at the University,” he said.

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