Hawks Hired! Allison Rickert ’23

Hawks Hired highlights the accomplishments of soon to be RWU graduates as they finalize the next steps on their career journeys. Allison is planning on taking a Gap Year and eventually enroll in an Art Therapy Graduate Program. Read on to learn more about her next chapter following graduation.

What is your major/was your major at RWU?

I am a psychology major with minors in visual arts and criminal justice.

Graduation year?

I will be graduating this spring (2023).

Where is your next adventure? 

As of right now, I’ve been accepted into two graduate school programs for art therapy, and (after deciding which school to attend) I plan to defer for one year before pursuing my master’s degree. In my gap year I will be continuing to work at my local elementary school as a substitute teacher and a local clothing store until I hopefully find placement in a counseling-related position. I can’t wait for grad school and learning to become an art therapist, but I want to take a break from school and allow myself to relax a little and generate some income first to finance my continuing education.

What was the process like of landing this job/next opportunity?

The process of applying to graduate programs was pretty similar to applying to undergraduate programs, but it was interesting to see the ways it was new to me as well, such as the personal essays, portfolios, and interviews I had to complete along with my application. The interview was the most intimidating part by far, but I honestly felt pretty prepared, and it ended up feeling just like a normal meeting or class because it was done in a group setting. That actually ended up being my favorite part because I got to talk with so many different people who were all interested in the same thing as me. As I mentioned, the program I applied to is for art therapy, so we also began the interview with live art-making before introducing ourselves, which I thought was really unique and relieved some of the nervousness such a big interview inevitably carries with it.

Who helped you during your job search/graduate school process?

Richelle Hurley from CCPD was really helpful to me during the grad school process. I was worried that I had started to look into grad school too late at the beginning of this year, but she reassured me that it was still doable and helped me to start my search and find schools I was interested in, which allowed me to be ready for my first application deadline this past December as well as all the others that followed. I also have a few friends who were applying to grad school programs at the same time so we were able to help each other too.

What advice do you have to students who are in the process of finding a job/going to graduate school?

As far as grad school goes, I would say reach out to a school that interests you to learn about their program directly from a representative. Sometimes just trying to find all the information yourself can be overwhelming, so if someone can point you in the right direction or answer your questions personally it can make the whole process much less stressful. Not to mention, reaching out and showing interest helps you to start networking and building a connection to that particular school, which communicates to the grad school admissions counselors that you are genuinely interested in their school. Also, I didn’t start my search until my senior year here at RWU, so don’t feel like you waited too long to apply. There are people around you (whether at CCPD or elsewhere) who can help you at every step of the process. That being said, there’s no rush or “right” time to go to grad school. Many people have told me I should go straight there after graduating, while others have recommended waiting a year or two. It all comes down to you knowing yourself and what you believe is best for you and your happiness. I wanted to complete my applications this year, but I was on the fence about deferring or not. After being accepted to the two programs I wanted to get into, I’ve decided I will defer for one year before continuing my education, and I know that is what will ultimately make me happiest. In other words, the best advice I can give is to know yourself and do what makes you happy.


Want to share your next steps with the CCPD? Email Kevin (kdeeb@rwu.edu) in the CCPD to learn more about sharing with us!

By Kevin Deeb
Kevin Deeb Career Advisor