How Do I Determine Which Graduate Program is Right for Me?

Anyone currently seeking admission to graduate school knows the decision-making process can be tough. It’s exciting to receive the acceptance letters, but actually sitting down to make a choice is a lot of pressure. There are some things to consider that can make that grad school decision much less stressful. Read on to discover ways to determine which graduate program is right.

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Career Goals

Career goals should be at the center of the graduate program decision-making process. It’s important to know whether a particular job requires further education and how experience comes into play. Some grad programs actually require real-world experience prior to admission, so there’s no use applying for anyone who hasn’t worked in the profession. For other fields, that advanced degree may be what matters most to achieve a specific career rank.

Admission Requirements

Always check admission requirements. As noted above, sometimes work experience is needed prior to being accepted. There are also often prerequisite courses that must be taken before admission into certain fields. It’s also not unusual to have to meet a minimum GRE score for acceptance. Knowing the admissions requirements can help a great deal when it comes to choosing which grad school to apply to.

Course Delivery

For many graduate students, flexibility in degree programs matters. Anyone who is working or raising a family may not have the flexibility of attending in-class lectures each week. Therefore, the type of course delivery is crucial. Some graduate schools offer exclusively online programs, while others require on-campus attendance. It’s also possible to find a hybrid program that is a mix of the two.

Part-Time or Full-Time

Along the lines of flexibility in graduate school, it’s imperative that many students have a choice when it comes to the amount of time they spend on their degree. Those with outside obligations might wish to only consider programs with part-time options. Full-time may be a better choice for folks who wish to complete their degree in as timely a manner as possible. Bear in mind that some graduate programs offer only a cohort format in which all students pursuing that degree must attend classes together. Time restrictions are great in such curriculums.

Accreditation

Accreditation is important for many career fields, some more than others. When a program is approved by an accrediting body, it lends credence and stature. Students can feel confident they are receiving a quality education. Some fields actually require an accredited degree for employment or membership in professional organizations. Always ask about accreditation when deciding whether to attend a particular school.

Facilities and Research

Some professions require specific equipment. In such cases, a program’s facilities are important. Anyone seeking an advanced technical or medical degree will likely desire state-of-the-art equipment or access to superior clinical facilities. Along those lines, students wishing to pursue a doctoral degree in the future may place emphasis on research opportunities, as publishing credits matter in the world of academia.

These are all things to consider when deciding which grad program to pursue. Making a grad school decision involves doing a lot of research and asking many questions, but the payoff is worth it.