Over the years The Julliard School’s curriculum has evolved with the school. Initially, it was exclusively a music school with a traditional curriculum focusing on music theory, ear training, and music history. From there it embraced a program designed for composers to teach, which left the classroom application of the previous elements up to the discretion of the composer-instructors. By the 1960s, even that was abandoned in favor of the solfege pedagogy, which forms the basis for today’s music education. The dance curriculum was added in 1951, and drama in 1968, although music remains the dominant division at the school. The Juilliard School offers undergraduate degrees in music, dance, and drama; and graduate and doctorate degrees in music.

Once Juilliard students are accepted, which is through a rigorous audition process, they may choose from among several majors. Students may earn a B.F.A. in dance, which is equal parts ballet and modern dance with a three semester, 24-credit liberal arts program. The drama B.F.A. program accepts 8-10 new students per year by audition into acting or playwright programs, which also include the liberal arts core curriculum. There are 14 music majors from which to choose in the undergraduate B.M. Instrumental and B.M. Voice programs, which again include the three semester liberal arts curriculum. Multiple performance opportunities are available both at The Juilliard School and at venues in and around New York City.

The Juilliard School also offers cross-registration for students wishing to take courses at either Columbia University or Barnard College. Juilliard students are limited to one class per semester; they must be in good academic standing at Juilliard and able to demonstrate the ability to take on the enhanced academic rigor of the two schools. Approved credits earned count towards Juilliard’s liberal arts requirements. Additionally, Juilliard students have the opportunity to participate in a rigorous year-long research program to earn “with scholastic distinction” on their degrees and transcripts. A select number of students pursuing music degrees can apply for the accelerated M.M. program where they are allowed to take courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels during their final undergrad year.

All first-year students of the Juilliard School are required to live in campus housing. Juilliard has provided housing for approximately 350 students at their Meridith Willson Residence Hall in the top thirteen floors of the Rose Building next door to the school. The unique resident hall offers million-dollar views of Broadway, Central Park, and the Hudson River. It’s in the heart of Manhattan, close to the Metropolitan Opera House and only blocks from Times Square. The lobby floor has a student lounge, kitchen, laundry room, and vending machines. There is a student fitness center on the 22^{nd} floor and a student computer and study lounge on the 19^{th} floor.

Each floor has four student suites and two soundproof practice rooms. Each suite has five bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a living room with an amazing view. All suites are fully furnished and provide cable and Internet. Students can choose specialty housing options like gender specific, quiet, or substance free. Only first-year students are guaranteed housing. Older students can live off campus or participate in Housing Selection for a shot at staying in the residence hall. Juilliard assists students with off-campus housing resources. There are meal-plans available to students regardless of living on or off campus. Residence Life hosts over 100 activities including, Midnight Breakfast and Halloween Haunted House.

Students can participate in the relatively new independent student newspaper, The Yard, or just read it to stay in the know with what’s happening socially, academically, and with peers, staff, and alumni. There are no college sports, fraternities or sororities, and no traditions to speak of. What you can find is a ton of reasonably priced options for eating and hanging out in the East Village and Hell’s Kitchen neighborhoods, the opportunity to rub shoulders with the most artistically brilliant and talented people you’ll ever meet, and the chance to live and learn in the most exciting city in the country.

If you think you have what it takes, the Juilliard School is waiting for you to share your talents.

Still need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Also, take a look at our profiles for The University of Chicago, Pomona College, and Amherst College, and more to see if those schools are a good fit for you.

*By Colleen Hill*

The Meaning of Arithmetic Mean

Can You Solve these Mean GMAT Questions?

Finding Arithmetic Mean Using Deviations

Application of Arithmetic Means

This question needs you to apply all these concepts but can still be easily done in under two minutes. Now, without further ado, let’s go on to the question – there is a lot to discuss there.

**Question**: An automated manufacturing unit employs N experts such that the range of their monthly salaries is $10,000. Their average monthly salary is $7000 above the lowest salary while the median monthly salary is only $5000 above the lowest salary. What is the minimum value of N?

(A)10

(B)12

(C)14

(D)15

(E)20

**Solution**: Let’s first assimilate the information we have. We need to find the minimum number of experts that must be there. Why should there be a minimum number of people satisfying these statistics? Let’s try to understand that with some numbers.

Say, N cannot be 1 i.e. there cannot be a single expert in the unit because then you cannot have the range of $10,000. You need at least two people to have a range – the difference of their salaries would be the range in that case.

So there are at least 2 people – say one with salary 0 and the other with 10,000. No salary will lie outside this range.

Median is $5000 – i.e. when all salaries are listed in increasing order, the middle salary (or average of middle two) is $5000. With 2 people, one at 0 and the other at 10,000, the median will be the average of the two i.e. (0 + 10,000)/2 = $5000. Since there are at least 10 people, there is probably someone earning $5000. Let’s put in 5000 there for reference.

0 … 5000 … 10,000

Arithmetic mean of all the salaries is $7000. Now, mean of 0, 5000 and 10,000 is $5000, not $7000 so this means that we need to add some more people. We need to add them more toward 10,000 than toward 0 to get a higher mean. So we will try to get a mean of $7000.

Let’s use deviations from the mean method to find where we need to add more people.

0 is 7000 less than 7000 and 5000 is 2000 less than 7000 which means we have a total of $9000 less than 7000. On the other hand, 10,000 is 3000 more than 7000. The deviations on the two sides of mean do not balance out. To balance, we need to add two more people at a salary of $10,000 so that the total deviation on the right of 7000 is also $9000. Note that since we need the minimum number of experts, we should add new people at 10,000 so that they quickly make up the deficit in the deviation. If we add them at 8000 or 9000 etc, we will need to add more people to make up the deficit at the right.

Now we have

0 … 5000 … 10000, 10000, 10000

Now the mean is 7000 but note that the median has gone awry. It is 10,000 now instead of the 5000 that is required. So we will need to add more people at 5000 to bring the median back to 5000. But that will disturb our mean again! So when we add some people at 5000, we will need to add some at 10,000 too to keep the mean at 7000.

5000 is 2000 less than 7000 and 10,000 is 3000 more than 7000. We don’t want to disturb the total deviation from 7000. So every time we add 3 people at 5000 (which will be a total deviation of 6000 less than 7000), we will need to add 2 people at 10,000 (which will be a total deviation of 6000 more than 7000), to keep the mean at 7000 – this is the most important step. Ensure that you have understood this before moving ahead.

When we add 3 people at 5000 and 2 at 10,000, we are in effect adding an extra person at 5000 and hence it moves our median a bit to the left.

Let’s try one such set of addition:

0 … 5000, *5000, 5000, 5000* … 10000, 10000, 10000, *10000, 10000*

The median is not $5000 yet. Let’s try one more set of addition.

0 … 5000, 5000, 5000, 5000, *5000, 5000, 5000* … 10000, 10000, 10000, 10000, 10000, *10000, 10000*

The median now is $5000 and we have maintained the mean at $7000.

This gives us a total of 15 people.

Answer (D)

Granted, the question is tough but note that it uses very basic concepts and that is the hallmark of a good GMAT question!

Try to come up with some other methods of solving this.

*Karishma, a Computer Engineer* with a keen interest in alternative Mathematical approaches, has mentored students in the continents of Asia, Europe and North America. She teaches the GMAT for Veritas Prep in Detroit, Michigan, and regularly participates in content development projects such as this blog!

Wait for it.

And that one phrase can totes make your GMAT score supes high. Like, for real.

How?

Perhaps the best example comes from an all-staff email sent at Veritas Prep headquarters this week regarding the holiday vacation schedule. It began “With pumpkin spice season nearing its apex, it’s…” Seeing that introduction, multiple Veritas Prep staffers commented later that “it’s” after the comma made them nervous, as the possessive of “season” is *its*, not *it’s* (which grammatically means “it is”).

Now later in that sentence it became clear that the intention was “it is” (…”it’s time to start making holiday vacation plans.”), but the fact that so many Sentence Correction experts were on the edge of their seats just seeing that contraction “it’s” next to a possessive should demonstrate for you how to become great at Sentence Correction. To be efficient and effective with Sentence Correction, it’s helpful to anticipate what types of errors you might see, rather than simply sit back and wait for them to appear. Those who are most successful at Sentence Correction read sentences looking for signs of potential danger; they’re proactive as they search for likely Decision Points. For example, if you were to read the introduction:

Particularly for a leadership or management role, it is important that a candidate be both…

your senses should be heightened for parallel structure with “both X and Y,” number one, and secondly you should be acutely aware that the word “be” precedes the word “both,” so there is a very high likelihood that there will be an extraneous “be” after the word “and” to follow. In other words, when you see “both,” wait for it…where’s the “and,” and is the portion directly after it parallel to the first portion?

Correct:

(A) qualified to perform the duties of most subordinates and able to inspire subordinates to perform those duties at a higher level.

Incorrect:

(B) qualified to perform the duties of most subordinates and be able to inspire subordinates to perform those duties at a higher level.

While the grammar of this problem is crucial, true expertise comes from knowing where to focus your attention and expend your mental energy. Analyzing every word of every answer choice is exhausting, so the experts train themselves to see clues and “…wait for it” focusing back in on the parts of the sentence most highly correlated with errors. Clues can be:

Signals of parallel structure: both, either, neither, not only

Signals of verb tense: since, from, until

Signals of pronoun or subject/verb agreement: it, they, its, their

To train yourself to spot those clues that tell you to “wait for it…”, pay attention not only (wait for it…) to the grammatical reasons that an answer choice is right or wrong in your homework, but also (here it is…is it parallel?) to the signals outside the underline that required the application of that grammar. Sentence Correction is to an extent about “what do you know” but to really excel it also has to be about “what do you do” – the clues and signals that tell you what to look for and where to spend your time and energy.

Are you studying for the GMAT? We have free online GMAT seminars running all the time. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

*By Brian Galvin*

Even with the recent trend of shorter essays for schools, it still takes quite a bit of thoughtfulness to craft a compelling case for admission, and this thoughtfulness takes time—plain and simple. Essays are not going to write themselves, not to mention all the ancillary items you must also complete such as obtaining your transcripts, sitting down with recommenders and going on school visits.

It’s probably not too much trouble to pull everything off if you are applying to only one or two schools, but if you decide to cast a wider net in order to boost your odds, you might find yourself with five or six applications to knock out.

So what is the strategy?

**1. Why an MBA?**

Since every school wants to know some version of three basic questions, a good way to get the process rolling is to think about why you want an MBA at all, why now is the right time, and why your specific target schools appeal to you (hint: don’t mention the rankings).

**2. Get Organized**

Organizing yourself is also important. Make sure you set aside time specifically for application work, or else you might fall into the procrastination trap. Unfortunately, trying to do things piecemeal is typically a recipe for disaster, so plan to work in at least half-hour to one hour chunks if you want to make meaningful progress.

**3. One at a Time**

Another tip is to try and work on only one school at a time. This achieves two things; firstly, it prevents you from getting confused about the reasons for going to each school and helps you focus on the details of individual school requirements. Secondly, it gives you a nice feeling of achievement when you are able to complete a school in its entirety, which can provide critical momentum (especially if you are running out of time).

Of course some of the heavy lifting you must do on b-school applications is completely transferrable, such as getting copies of transcripts, sending your GMAT scores, and lining up recommenders, but the school specific list is something that is best accomplished if you focus on that school only until you are finished.

**4. Submit Your Best**

The last piece of advice I have is to make sure you create the best application you can before you hit the submit button. Even though the process can be arduous at times, don’t succumb to the pressure of a deadline to potentially put you in a situation to submit something that could be better if you only had more time. Better to bump into a subsequent round with an improved package, than to hit an earlier deadline having left things on the table.

Learn about top MBA programs by downloading our Essential Guides! Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or click here to take our Free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation! As always, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter.

*Bryant Michaels has over 25 years of professional post undergraduate experience in the entertainment industry as well as on Wall Street with Goldman Sachs. He served on the admissions committee at the Fuqua School of Business where he received his MBA and now works part time in retirement for a top tier business school. He has been consulting with Veritas Prep clients for the past six admissions seasons. See more of his articles here.*

Some schools have a central contact point while others, like Fuqua, go as far as listing the names of all their current students who are veterans, along with their contact information. Regardless of how you connect with these clubs and their members, you’ll find they are more than willing to help you answer questions and chat about their experience as veterans. You will also get a sense of what programs may be the best fit for you as a result of interacting with members of the current class.

If your schedule allows, go one step further and take advantage of the military prospective student events being held around the country at business schools this fall. Military visit days are typically daylong sessions complete with admissions FAQ sessions, campus tours, class visits and the opportunity to network with current students.

Of the top ten MBA programs in the U.S., seven hold a yearly military day event. While the majority of these days happen between September and November, Tuck and MIT host their military day events in the spring. Here’s a rundown of the military events at top programs this fall to put on your radar screen:

HBS Military Prospective Student Day, September 26

http://hbs.campusgroups.com/afaa/home/

Wharton Veteran Prospective Applicant Day, September 25

NYU Stern Military Event, Saturday October 4

By invitation only, deadline has passed to apply.

http://www.stern.nyu.edu/programs-admissions/full-time-mba/students/military-veterans/military-event

Duke Veteran’s Symposium for Military Applicants, October 10-11

https://events.fuqua.duke.edu/veterans/

Kellogg Military Visit Day, October 17-18 http://kellogg.campusgroups.com/veterans/web_page?url_name=about&club_url2=veterans

Columbia, Veterans Matter@ Columbia Event, November 10

Cornell Military Preview Day, November 13, 2014

https://www.johnson.cornell.edu/About/Veterans-at-Johnson/Military-Preview-Day

Michigan Ross Military Preview Day, November 15

https://michiganross.umich.edu/events/military-preview-day

All of these events, with the exception of Stern, which is by invitation only, are open to anyone with a military background. Whether you are active duty and just beginning to research business school or a veteran already planning on R2 applications, attending these tailored events and reaching out to Armed Forces Clubs will give you a strategic advantage in the application process. For the events that have passed, keep these in mind if you plan to apply next year!

*Emily Sawyer Kegerreis is a Head Consultant at Veritas Prep and specializes in the career development needs of transitioning military veterans through her company, CareerWise Consulting.*

For those unfamiliar with 1337, it is known as “leet” or “leetspeak” wherein English alphabet letters are replaced by the number that resembles them the most. It uses 1 for L, 3 for E and 7 for T, allowing the number 1337 to stand in for leet, cacographic shorthand for “elite”. (Think of it as pig Latin for the 21^{st} Century). In essence, some people have devised a sublanguage of English that is hard to read for the average person, but very easy to understand for anyone versed in the language’s rules. The same logic can be applied on GMAT questions.

Many terms that you’ll encounter on the GMAT are commonplace in math milieus, but most GMAT students don’t spend much time in such environments. Almost all students have also learned many of the terms long ago, like quotient and decimal, but have since forgotten their definitions because they don’t use them in everyday situations. Other concepts, like Data Sufficiency, only really exist on the GMAT and are not used in the same manner in the real world. This melange of issues can sometimes make it feel like the exam is speaking a language you don’t.

The ideal situation would be to avoid encountering any new or exotic word on test day, which hopefully means you’ve seen all of them during your test preparation. Moreover, simply understanding what each individual word means isn’t enough either, the entire meaning of the sentence must be clear in order to get the correct answer. As always, practice makes perfect, so let’s look at a sample GMAT problem and put the pieces together:

*If R and S are positive integers, can the fraction R/S be expressed as a decimal with only a finite number of nonzero digits?*

*(1) **S is a factor of 100*

*(2) **R is a factor of 100*

*(A) **Statement 1 alone is sufficient but statement 2 alone is not sufficient to answer the question asked.*

*(B) **Statement 2 alone is sufficient but statement 1 alone is not sufficient to answer the question asked.*

*(C) **Both statements 1 and 2 together are sufficient to answer the question but neither statement is sufficient alone.*

*(D) **Each statement alone is sufficient to answer the question.*

*(E) **Statements 1 and 2 are not sufficient to answer the question asked and additional data is needed to answer the statements.*

For many students, a question worded in this way is dreadful. The question is asking about two positive integers, R and S, and what happens if we divide one by the other. Could the resulting fraction be expressed as a decimal, and if so, would that decimal have a finite number of nonzero digits?

Let’s tackle these issues one at a time. If we divide R by S, could the fraction be written as a decimal? Yes, say the fraction were 2/3, this could be rewritten as 0.666… However this decimal would go on forever with 6’s, as opposed to the fraction 2/4 which would be rewritten as 0.500 and would stop there. The second part of this question is asking us to make this distinction: does the number continue on forever or does it have a finite number of digits after which it is completed. A number like 2/3 continues with an infinite number of 6’s, whereas 2/4 culminates in a finite number of nonzero digits.

Once you understand exactly what the question is asking for, it becomes much simpler to answer it. We can answer “no” if we find a decimal that goes on to infinity (and beyond). We can answer “yes” if the decimal ends at a specific point. We can determine a few simple examples in our heads (1/3, ½, ¾, etc) and then look at statement 1.

Statement 1 tells us that integer S (the denominator) is a factor of 100. A factor means that I can divide 100 by an integer and get another integer, so 1, 2, 4, 5, 10, 20, 25, 50 and 100 are all factors of 100. It wouldn’t take too long to test that every one of these nine numbers, as the denominator, will end in a finite point. Logically, this is because the prime factorization of 100 is 2^2 * 5^2, and therefore all the factors of 100 will be some multiples of 2’s and 5’s, both of which are finite decimals (0.5 and 0.2, respectively). Try as you might, any numerator over 2 will end in x.0 or x.5, and any numerator over 5 will end in x.0, x.2, x.4, x.6 or x.8 (next five series of X-box consoles?). Since it is impossible to get an infinite decimal with these denominators, statement 1 will be sufficient to say the decimal will definitely end.

Statement 2 tells us that integer R (the numerator) is a factor of 100. This means that R can be the same 9 options we had for statement 1 (1, 2, 4, 5, 10, 20, 25, 50 and 100), but it doesn’t provide the same amount of help as defining the denominator does. If the numerator is 1, then the denominator can be 2 (finite) or 3 (not finite) and I’d have completely different answers. For the same reason that the numerator didn’t matter in statement 1, it doesn’t matter in statement 2, either.

If statement 1 gives us a definitive answer and statement 2 can go either way, then the correct answer to this question must be answer choice A. However getting the right answer is dependent on first understanding the question being asked. Just as with any language, maximum exposure will lead to maximum comprehension and retention, even if sometimes the terms seem peculiar. Remember that if you speak the GMAT’s language on test day, you’re more likely to get a 1337 score.

Plan on taking the GMAT soon? We have GMAT prep courses starting all the time. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

*Ron Awad is a GMAT instructor for Veritas Prep based in Montreal, bringing you weekly advice for success on your exam. After graduating from McGill and receiving his MBA from Concordia, Ron started teaching GMAT prep and his Veritas Prep students have given him rave reviews ever since.*

Academically, it is the mission of Tufts University to help students recognize the combinations of cross-disciplinary studies required to solve the complex global challenges of the present and the future. The University empowers students toward that goal with world class research capabilities combined with the personalized rigor of a small college. Students can choose from more than 70 majors among the two undergraduate schools, although 90% of students are enrolled in the School of Arts and Sciences.

By enrollment, the most popular undergraduate majors at Tufts are international relations and biological sciences. Undergraduates are considered an essential part of ongoing university research. Because of the university’s strong international focus, nearly half of all Tufts undergraduates study abroad for at least a semester. Famous Tufts graduates include singer Tracy Chapman, author Anita Shreve, television personality Meredith Vieira, and astronaut Frederick Hauck.

Over 70% of Tufts students live in one of 40 on or off campus housing properties. Freshmen are required to live on campus in Tilton, Houston, Hill, or Haskell Halls unless they are able to verify that they commute from their parents’ homes. They must also enroll in the premium meal plan with Carmichael or Dewick-MacPhie dining halls, which are open seven days a week. Students have several clubs and organizations available to them including musical groups, performance arts groups like dance or opera, and student journalism opportunities, such as the campus television or radio stations.

Students report enjoying the proximity to Davis Square for shopping and eating out at one of many restaurants serving diverse culinary choices. Entertainment suggestions include capture the flag at Powerhouse Park, Sacco’s Bowling at Davis Square, a nap on President’s Lawn, or the view from the roof of Tisch Library. If you are old enough to drink, trivia night at PJ Ryan’s is on Tuesdays, or there is Friday night wine tasting at Ball Square Fine Wines. There’s good vegan food at True Bistro in Teele Square, if you’re into it.

Tufts University has 14 men’s and 15 women’s NCAA Division III teams competing in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC). Recent accolades have gone to Tufts first-ever NCAA Division III team title, won by the men’s lacrosse team in 2010; a national individual title in women’s tennis the same year, and most recently, a men’s national individual diving title. There are an additional 16 club sports for students to participate in at Tufts. Students can also join in nine intramural fall sports and five spring sports with a Tufts ID, which must be presented at each event. The University’s commitment to healthy living and fitness for all students is clearly demonstrated with the state-of-the-are Tisch Sports and Fitness Center, and all students are encouraged to take advantage of it.

A special Tufts tradition takes place on President’s lawn when incoming freshmen light a candle in honor of Charles Tufts their first night on campus; four years later, they repeat the ceremony the night before graduation. Another Tufts tradition is painting the cannon and then guarding it until daybreak to be sure your work isn’t painted over by someone else. The Spring Fling concert just before finals has been a Tuft’s tradition since 1980. For 75 years, students have awakened Halloween morning to find their campus “pumpkin’d” with pumpkins all over the place; these are just some of the Tufts traditions you’ll experience.

If you want the comfort of a small campus with the world class research opportunities of a major research university, and you have a heart for solving global issues, Tufts is the place to apply.

Still need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! Also, take a look at our profiles for The University of Chicago, Pomona College, and Amherst College, and more to see if those schools are a good fit for you.

*By Colleen Hill*

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**SAT Prep can help a student get into college.** Most highly competitive schools have an SAT (or ACT) range that most students fall into. There are certainly students who get admitted to competitive schools who are outside of this range, but many schools use SAT scores and GPAs as an initial cut off to cull down the number of admissions. Particularly high SAT scores or GPAs can even help to advance students in the admissions process who fall outside of the schools range in other areas. The bottom line is the SAT matters to admissions officers at most schools.

**Taking the SAT is a skill that can be learned.** The SAT is not a test of how well you have retained the information taught in school: the SAT is a test of how well you can take the SAT. There are a number of general test taking skills that SAT courses can provide, things like plugging in answer choices and eliminating incorrect answers to find correct answers, but SAT prep also gives students SAT specific skills and stresses the information that is and is not required for success on the test. These are all learnable skills that can dramatically increase scores. For many students, as little as six weeks of concerted study can increase scores by 200-300 points. This is less than a single semester in school and thus less time than it takes to even affect one high school grading period.

Whether or not you do any test preparation should certainly depend on the desired outcome of the test taker. If you are happy with your scores, or if you have done no work on your own and are interested in seeing how much you can accomplish unguided, then you should pursue that goal. **The advantage of doing a prep course is access to an expert who understands the material and is able to give specific help on how to approach the SAT.** It’s simply too important and too unique a skill set to assume that high school will give you adequate preparation, so whatever you do, do something that focuses on the actual skills required to succeed on SAT. Happy preparations!

Plan on taking the SAT soon? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

*David Greenslade** is a Veritas Prep SAT instructor based in New York. His passion for education began while tutoring students in underrepresented areas during his time at the University of North Carolina. After receiving a degree in Biology, he studied language in China and then moved to New York where he teaches SAT prep and participates in improv comedy. Read more of his articles here, including How I Scored in the 99th Percentile and How to Effectively Study for the SAT.*

**Part Three – Tear Down that Glass Wall!**

If you went to a large undergraduate school, the concept of getting to know a professor might sound pretty unrealistic. She might have been just a speck in the front of an enormous lecture hall, or graduate TAs might have been your primary instructors. If you attended a smaller school, the faculty might have seemed more approachable, but the age and experience gaps could still be a little intimidating. Either way, you might have felt as if an invisible glass wall stood between the class and The Mysterious Professor.

In business school you’ll find the interaction can be different. It’s not uncommon to have a professor whose age makes them closer to a peer, and because professors encourage students to bring real-world experiences into the classroom, sometimes the teacher/student roles are reversed. Although the faculty still garners well-deserved respect from their students, the barrier between “us” and “them” is much less rigid than it was in undergrad.

Don’t misunderstand – professors are still authority figures and based on that alone, they can seem inaccessible. They’ll issue your grade at the end of the course, and the mere prospect of a cold call from them can induce fear into even the most over-confident investment banker. Some are downright famous. And oh yeah, they can be scary smart. (Imagine my cohort’s surprise when, on the first day of our first semester operations class, our professor called on us by name! It turns out he had memorized all of our faces and names, using the pre-Facebook version of Facebook.)

But don’t be intimidated – breaking through the wall has many benefits. At the risk of stating the obvious, you could learn something. That course you’re taking represents a mere sliver of what she knows about the subject. You can also bridge the gap between academics and career development. Many professors maintain outside consulting relationships with companies and can actually be quite good sources of career advice and even job leads. (And speaking of job leads, sometimes they need second-year students as TA’s.) Some professors even act as angel investors, so if you’re entrepreneurially minded, you might land some good advice at minimum or an investor at most.

Some schools make it easy to do this. Wharton offers a popular Take A Professor To Lunch program. My team did this several times, and it was well worth it. We loved that our buttoned-up accounting professor, known for wearing suits, panty hose and heels on class days, showed up for lunch in jeans and flip flops. Professors! They’re just like us! Darden is famous for “First Coffees” – a dedicated time after the first class of the day when students, faculty, and visitors all gather.

If there’s no organized program at your school, you’ll have to put forth some effort, but that doesn’t mean it’s hard. Even the most famous professors still have office hours; professors at Darden even have an open door policy. If you’re in their class, go visit. Bring questions about something discussed in a lecture. If you aren’t in the professor’s class but have a shared career or research interest, reach out to request a brief meeting. Now, not every single professor will welcome this level of contact, and that’s fine. If you encounter indifference, don’t sweat it and don’t take it personally. Just move on.

Professors are busy folks – among teaching MBAs (and maybe undergrads and PhDs, too), outside consulting, and of course their research and writing, time is at a premium – so be respectful. Don’t hog the ENTIRE office hour. Do your research – at minimum, read their bio on the school’s website, look over a few of their publications, or leaf through their latest book. Bring some specific questions that prove you’re exactly the sort of curious, well-prepared student who’s worth their time. Be cautious, though, about connecting with your professors on social media – to maintain boundaries, some discourage Facebook or LinkedIn invites while you’re still a student.

If you’re still in the application process, listen up. These very professors will have a profound influence on you, so do your due diligence. When you visit campus, observe the interactions between faculty and students. Ask students how accessible their professors are outside of class. If your school visit offers an opportunity to meet the faculty, take advantage of it. Ask about the protocol for reaching out to professors during the admissions process. Schools sometimes discourage this, but if you have a specific area of interest, the admissions office might be willing to facilitate an introduction.

Making a relatively small effort to tear down the wall between the front of the room and the back of the room can pay big dividends. You’ll at least end up just that much smarter; you might end up with a mentor, an investor or even a lifelong friend!

Want to craft a strong application? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. Click here to take our Free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation! As always, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

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Let’s see how we decide that.

**Question 1**: In the wake of the global housing crisis, and amid dramatically changing demographics, it is likely that a widespread shift in thinking is ahead, which will reduce demand for large suburban homes, thus increasing demand for smaller urban apartments.

(A) it is likely that a widespread shift in thinking is ahead, which will reduce demand for large suburban homes, thus increasing demand for smaller urban apartments.

(B) it is likely that a widespread shift in thinking is ahead, which will reduce demand for large suburban homes, and thus increase demand for smaller urban apartments.

(C) it is not unlikely that a widespread shift in thinking is ahead, reducing demand for large suburban homes, thus creating an increase in demand for smaller urban apartments.

(D) it is not unlikely that a widespread shift in thinking is ahead, reducing demand for large suburban homes and increasing demand for smaller urban apartments.

(E) it is not unlikely that a widespread shift in thinking is ahead, reducing demand for large suburban homes, increasing demand for smaller urban apartments.

**Solution**: Let’s start looking for decision points – the first decision point is ‘it is likely’ vs ‘it is not unlikely’ – both have similar meanings and are grammatically correct so we cannot eliminate any option based on this right now. The next decision point is the beginning of the modifier. Options (A) and (B) use ‘which clauses’. Options (C), (D) and (E) use present participle modifiers.

‘which’ is a relative pronoun but there is no noun before it which can act as an antecedent. Hence, the use of which is incorrect here. On the other hand, the use of participle modifier is acceptable here. Last week, we discussed that present participle modifier after a comma will modify the preceding clause. It provides additional information about the preceding clause. ‘reducing …’ tells us more about ‘widespread shift in thinking‘. Hence, let’s focus on options (C), (D) and (E).

In (C), the “thus” used to introduce the second participle is incorrect: the two participles should be linked with a coordinating conjunction without a comma. One is not really leading to the other – they are both byproducts of the change in thinking – reducing demand for large homes and increasing demand for urban apartments. Lastly, in option (C), the “creating an…” is unnecessary and redundant – you just need “increasing demand.”

For option (E), you need something to link the two participle phrases together – without it, there is a comma splice error. Hence we eliminate (E) as well.

Option (D) gets the structure and meaning correct – “the shift in thinking is reducing … and increasing …”

Answer is (D).

Now, let’s look at an official GMAT question.

**Question 2**: In 1984, medical researchers at Harvard and Stanford universities concluded that sedentary life-styles lead to heart and lung diseases that shorten lives, strongly recommending middle-aged people to undertake some form of regular exercise.

(A) strongly recommending middle-aged people to

(B) strongly recommending that middle-aged people should

(C) and strongly recommended for middle-aged people to

(D) and their strong recommendation was for middle-aged people to

(E) and they strongly recommended that middle-aged people

**Solution**: The given sentence has two clauses:

Main clause – medical researchers at Harvard and Stanford universities concluded

That clause – that sedentary life-styles lead to heart and lung diseases that shorten lives

If we use a comma and the present participle ‘recommending’ here, it will modify the ‘that clause’. So ‘recommending’ will be done by ‘sedentary life-styles’. Obviously, this is incorrect since the researchers are the ones who recommend exercise. So we cannot use the participle here. Hence we eliminate options (A) and (B).

Options (C), (D) and (E) use ‘recommend’ in verb form.

Options (C) and (D) are unidiomatic in their usage of the verb recommend.

You recommend X for Y (say a person X for position Y)

or

You recommend that X do Y (say a person X do Y)

Option (C) says ‘recommended for X to do Y’ and option (D) says ‘recommendation was for X to do Y’ – both are incorrect.

Option (E) uses recommend properly – ‘recommended that X do Y’. Also, ‘… researchers concluded that … and recommended that …’ have parallel structure. Hence, option (E) is correct.

Answer (E)

Hope you now understand how participle phrases are used.

*Karishma, a Computer Engineer* with a keen interest in alternative Mathematical approaches, has mentored students in the continents of Asia, Europe and North America. She teaches the GMAT for Veritas Prep in Detroit, Michigan, and regularly participates in content development projects such as this blog!