Graduate programs are not for the faint of heart. Not only is it a huge commitment, but also challenging in many ways. For some, it means quitting a job to commit full-time. For others, it means staying up at night to complete assignments and go to work in the daytime. Graduate programs are good opportunities to go beyond your current skills and open doors to fields that may not be available to you in your undergraduate years. If you’re still interested in attending a graduate program, here are the 3 most important things to consider before signing up for any graduate school events.
• What specific program are you interested in? If you don’t have a clue, what field are you interested in and what would you like to learn?
Let’s say you’re interested in disrupting how decision makers guide companies because of how they treat their employees. You might be interested in an MBA program that covers practical ways to change businesses for the better. If you’re into technology and coding, but you’re into research, then a master’s degree in computer science would potentially fit the bill.
Double check if you’re selecting one that has a thesis. It will help you get into PhD program if you plan to obtain one in the future.
A simple Google search on the graduate program for your interests would do the trick. Don’t forget to think about why, what are your goals, and what are you hoping to do after completing the graduate program.
Next up are the prerequisites.
• What are the prerequisites?
• How much does the application fee cost?
Lastly, the curriculum.
• How often does the curriculum change?
• Does it have the courses you’re interested in?
• What school are you interested in? If you don’t have a particular name in mind, what characteristics in a school do you prefer?
A. Do you prefer a school with a couple thousands of students and a gigantic campus that takes 30 minutes to walk from one building to another in the middle of nowhere? - OR -
B. Do you prefer a tall building that sits in the middle of a bustling city?
• What modes do you prefer: full-time, part-time, or online?
• Don’t forget about the cost to attend. How much does it cost per course?
• How are the faculty and advisors? Are they incredibly supportive or challenging to reach out?
If you prefer to live somewhere quietly with no loud noises on the streets, then the city may not be a good fit. Don’t forget to consider the living costs such as food, rent/mortgage, gas, car if you’re getting a new one, health insurance, etc. Lastly, find out what industry is dominating in your location of interests. It should give you an idea on what industry you’re likely to end up.
All three factors will help you form a solid list of schools that you’re interested in. By having that list with you on the day of an info session, you will gain information that go beyond just general information about the application processes and the school. In some cases, you’ll score a graduate application fee waiver from the schools that you’re interested in.
Don’t forget to evaluate your budget and make certain you’re able to pay not just for graduate school, but also everything else before filling out your application.
Best of luck with your graduate program search! You can do it!
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