The graduate school choice
How to make up your mind on the best graduate schools and programs for you
Choosing a good graduate school program for your career wants and needs will help you take the next step up the corporate ladder, and enhance your professional development. When you select a school and program that’s right for you, not only do you excel academically, but also your personality shapes well and you spend graduate school days in a highly productive way.
With so many graduate schools out there, you may find selecting the right graduate offering to be a daunting task, particularly so when you want to specialize in a diverse field of work. Let’s look at some interesting points to consider when selecting a graduate school:
- Choosing an accredited school – Choose a school that offers accredited programs. Sometimes, you might not notice this aspect, when applying. If you take up a program without accreditation, you face difficulties in using your educational qualifications, when applying for a job. Your degree might not be considered as it is from a school which is not accredited. Furthermore, non-accredited schools do not openly say they are not accredited. So be cautious and check on this factor before applying.
- Cost of education – Look into the cost of education and compare the cost between various accredited graduate schools. You need to compare costs such as tuition fees housing costs, cost of books and supplies and other extra costs to find out the total figure. Once you have done this, next check out the financial assistance programs that are offered to you. Choose one which you think is right for your situation and if required negotiate with the school. This can help you get more financial assistance.
- Check the Degrees offered – This is one of the most important points. Why? Sometimes, you will be looking for a particular program, but some graduate schools will only offer one specific degree program, which the institution might want to promote to you as equally good as what you are seeking. At times, this can be a good option, while at other times, it would be better to stick with the program you are truly looking to complete and opt for a school which offers just that without making any compromise. If you are seeking a career enhancement based on completing a particular program, don’t use an alternative one instead, just because it is available.
- Admission Standards – Many graduate schools will specify their admission levels. They will mention if their admission process is more or less demanding, what is the profile of the previous entering classes. If you are going to be completing a professional degree in which you will be spending considerable money and time, and which you want to use to further your career, it is better to choose a graduate school in which the admission criteria matches your own needs and capabilities. In this way, you ensure thriving in the program and gaining an understanding of your professional area, while working at your pace.
- Check out State regulation for Graduate School applicants – If your chosen graduate degree is available in another state, it is best to check out admission requirements and the costs you would incur as a non in-state resident student. Some students even relocate to the new state and set up their home there before they apply to a graduate program in that State, so that they can save by owing in-state fees.
- Help in enhancing your career – Look into how the program will help you advance you career prospects. Check out the kind of career placements assistance program that they offer so that you know about the level of help that you would be getting when searching for a job. In case the course of study that you are undertaken is specifically oriented for a particular job, getting assistance is very important.
- Culture – Check out the school culture. Are the faculty and student body forming a community similar to what you expect to be immersed in? Is the environment competitive? If you belong to a particular ethnic group, can you find people on campus who are like you? Is the environment of the college multicultural? These are important questions to find answers for, as you are going to be spending a good amount of time in your school and would gain from being able to adjust to the environment, style and interests of the people involved with you in your program.
Now the above-mentioned points are the key factors. Beyond this there are other factors that are important and which you should also consider. Here is a look at what they are:
- Location – You may have to relocate when you want to pursue a program which is offered by a graduate school in another state. So this is a point to think about.
- Size – If you choose a big graduate school program, you could have more resources at your disposal. Small size schools could provide a more close-knit community, more attention and a close environment.
- Surrounding Community – Look into the surrounding community settings, as this could influence your student life on campus. It should be a place that you would find comfortable.
If you are selective about the graduate school you enroll into, ensuring it meets your professional and personal wants and needs, you could thrive more easily and grow the most from the experience. You could also have a memorable life experience, something that will reflect positively in you later years in life and also in your career. It is very important to consider all the above-mentioned factors so that you give yourself the best start in your education path. Choose the right graduate school program and see how much your life changes by making this decision carefully.