Purdue Profiles: Janet Beagle

March 11, 2014  


Janet Beagle

Janet Beagle, director of graduate admissions in the Graduate School. (Purdue University photo/Mark Simons)
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Nothing energizes Janet Beagle more than listening to graduate students enthusiastically discuss the myriad career paths open to them thanks to their studies at Purdue.

Beagle is the Graduate School's director of graduate admissions. Her duties include overseeing the school's admissions and recruitment -- and both tasks connect her to Purdue's graduate students, who exude excitement and passion about their studies that Beagle finds inspiring.

What is the scope of your responsibilities at the Graduate School?

I've been in charge of admissions and recruitment since July, when those two efforts became the responsibility of one director. Before they merged, I was associate director of recruitment. I've worked at the Graduate School since 2005, when I was a graduate assistant and helped with recruiting efforts.

What are your responsibilities related to recruitment?

I oversee outreach to potential graduate students, whom we try to reach through social media, email and postal mail. We have a database that contains the names of about 30,000 prospective students. That list is compiled from information potential students submit through our online inquiry form, information they give us at graduate school fairs and information we receive from other entities such as, for example, the GRE (Graduate Record Examinations).

At the Graduate School, we also conduct outreach to the various academic departments that run their own graduate recruiting efforts. We help them with some of their needs and they contribute to our database of potential students based on information they’ve compiled.

What ways does your office recruit graduate students?

In addition to our print and electronic communications, we give presentations to prospective students and attend various recruitment events.  Every September, we hold the STEM-focused Big Ten+ Graduate School Exposition here at Purdue. The expo includes workshops for attendees to learn more about preparing for and applying to graduate school. We hold a graduate school fair during the expo, too.

Dozens of graduate schools from across the country attend the fair, and so do more than 400 prospective graduate students from across the country. It’s a great way for us to showcase Purdue's stellar graduate program offerings. It's also a great way to promote graduate studies in general.

In recent years, I've done some international traveling to promote Purdue to prospective graduate students. For example, I've traveled with EducationUSA, which is supported by the U.S. State Department, to places including Russia and Chile as part of Purdue's initiative to double the number of graduate students from Europe, South America and Africa.

What are your duties related to admissions?

When people apply to graduate programs at Purdue, their applications initially go to the appropriate academic department for review. Once the departments have narrowed down that group to applicants they'd like to admit, they send that pool of applications to us.

My group maintains the online application system, distributes official letters of admission and reviews whether the applicants have the minimum credentials required to attend graduate school at Purdue. For example, they must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution.

I oversee these admissions processes and occasionally help with  some of the credential reviews. It can be a very big job. For example, more than 17,000 people applied to Purdue's graduate programs for admission in fall 2013. Of those, 4,674 were admitted.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

It's definitely meeting prospective graduate students who end up getting accepted. For many, we're helping them pursue their passions -- for example, I met a student in Chile who was accepted, and it was his lifelong dream to study in the U.S. He was just so excited to be attending Purdue.

I also love hearing about graduate students' research. It lets me learn so many interesting things without having to do the projects myself!

How did you wind up on this career path?

When I was attending Purdue as a doctoral student, I thought I'd end up working in communications for a state or federal agriculture group. After all, my undergraduate and master's degrees were in animal sciences.

However, when I landed the assistantship in the Graduate School, I just fell in love with academia. I fell in love with doing work that helps people better themselves academically and personally. For me, that's a real privilege.

Writer: Amanda Hamon Kunz, 49-61325, ahamon@purdue.edu

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