Graduate level standardized testing tends to be slanted more towards higher-income students, Romero said, which makes the preparation offered by the McNair program extremely valuable.

Also, during the summer, the program offers a comprehensive class that “for all intents and purposes is like a Graduate School 101,” taught by Rhodes Scholar Manuel Montoya, Romero said.

“He teaches them, basically, the entire process of what graduate school is about,” he said. “Everything from how you get admitted, to how you earn your PhD, your dissertation, the whole deal. Basically giving them a road map for what to expect.”

UNM_SP_VERTICAL_PMS200CGraduate school can be a confusing and tedious endeavor, especially for under-resourced students, Romero said, and resources similar to those provided by the McNair Scholars Program can be expensive.

“If one were to go out and sign up for Kaplan or something like that, it’s easy to spend $2,000 to $3,000,” a figure that roughly compares to the $2,800 stipend awarded to those who complete the Summer Research Internship, he said. “They get that for free with our program.”

McNair scholars also benefit from increased exposure to graduate school recruiters, potentially allowing for free trips to graduate programs across the country, Romero said, in addition to waived application fees.

“If our students had to pay out of pocket for each application, they might only apply to one or two different universities,” he said. “By getting free applications, they are able to apply much more widely.”

The increased opportunity results in increased likelihood of admission and financial aid, Romero said.

“You see a variety of different research,” he said. “The thing that seems to tie them together is that our scholars tend to choose topics that are somehow going to change the world in a positive way, within their communities as well.”

~ Story originally posted on 10/3/16 by Johnny Vizcainonews reporter for the Daily Lobo.