Your goto guide to reach university alumni!
The best way to learn more about the program is to contact the alumni, people you know, people who are from your city, from your country. I have found the following tools extremely useful to get info about alumni and explore the vast network:
- LinkedIn (Ofcourse!)
- Slack - I will list down few channels that are extremely useful to get info and get in touch with experts.
Let’s understand with an example. We will take advantage of our sadistic best friend, Google.
Suppose that you are looking for alumni of UW HCDE program - The google query would be
university of washington hcde linkedin
Incase you are looking for people from your hometown - The google query would be
university of washington hcde linkedin gujarat
Make Sense Right?
- Suppose that you are looking for alumni who have worked in Microsoft - The google query would be
university of washington hcde linkedin microsoft
❗Delete your cache often to get new results
What to ask the alumni?
I have noted few important questions and an introduction template to get the most out of your conversations.
Point 1: Introduce Yourself - Make sure you include your name, location, education, work experience, future interests, course / university you are interested in, how did you find his/her profile.
Here are the list of the questions that you can forward them:
If I may ask, tell me something about you? About your interests towards UX & how the field has inspired you?
What was your motivation for choosing [courseName]?
Why did you choose [University Name]?
I hardly know a few things about UX or UI. Like do I need to know everything about these things, beforehand?
How was your experience @ [University Name]? From university research to graduation. I am all ears. Tell me everything!
I want to know more about the kind of research that is carried out @ [University Name]. Do they have any exposure to health or any other emerging domains in the market [Research Domains]?
Are the courses more oriented towards UX Research or UX Design?
Most of the colleges have guest lectures, or you know something that helps us create Network. Like how often [courseName] interacts with professionals or experts in the field? ( any visiting faculty mastered in the health care domain [Research Domains]?)
How are the career prospects @ [University Name]? (as well in [CityName])
How did you approach with a job? If I may ask.
What are the core factors that Professors look in one’s profile during the admission procedure?
About the portfolio, should my work be UX oriented? I come from a technical background with very less research oriented work. Can you please shed some light on the things I should include in a portfolio, specifically oriented for such courses?
Cost of Attendance, If I may ask.
You don’t have to answer this if you don’t want to. Which other schools did you look out for, other than [University Name]? Why?
If I am missing something, or if I am headed in a completely wrong direction, I seek your words of wisdom.
End Note: Thank them for their time, and mention that you will wait for their reply.
Few Extra Points to keep in mind:
- Be Patience. Give them enough time to respond.
- Don’t directly send them all the questions. Ask is they are okay to answer your questions or if they prefer chatting over a voice call sometime.
- Don’t ask personal info (ofcourse!)
- Be Gentle.
- Emails are dead! Message them directly on LinkedIn!
Refer this for active HCI/UX Slack Channels
I hope you find this useful!✨