Have questions about graduate school?

If you're thinking about graduate school, there are key questions to ask yourself before committing to a decision. If you choose to continue your education at the graduate level there are certain things you should consider about each program and school available. Then once you have chosen the schools and programs you wish to apply to, the next step is submitting an application and interviewing with the program. This process can seem daunting, and rightly so. The information below will help you during each step so that you will be able to make the best decisions about your future.

Is graduate school right for me?

1. What are my career goals? Is a graduate school degree necessary to accomplish these goals?

Graduate school might be the extra thing needed to reach your career goals; however it might be not worth your investment. Answering the above question will help you determine if graduate school is a valuable investment for you or not.

2. Do I have the desire and willingness to dedicate time, effort, and money to studying an academic field in greater depth? Am I ready for more intense schooling or am I a little "burned out"?

If you are feeling burned out, a break from formal education may be just what you are looking for. A year or two of work experience may even enhance your graduate school experience.

3. What do I expect to happen as a result of going to graduate school? Are these expectations realistic?

Some individuals with advanced degrees expect a higher starting salary, which may price them out of contention for a position.Graduate school does not always guarantee a better job or management position.Talk with faculty, friends, and employers to test your expectations.

4. Am I considering graduate school for the appropriate reasons?

Graduate or professional school is not the place to go to put off a job search or entry into the real world, or to help you figure things out. It is important to know why you are considering graduate school before entering in order to avoid making an unnecessary mistake.

what to consider when choosing a graduate school

1. The focus and/or format of the program

2. The number, quality, and expertise of faculty

3. Geographic location of the school and community - housing opportunities, student demographics

4. Overall cost of the school

5. Financial assistance (fellowships, assistantships, grants)

6. Reputation of the school - ranking, successful alumni, career opportunities

7. Acceptance and retention rates

8. Admissions requirements

Most schools will specify which test(s) are needed for admission and what constitutes a competitive score. The most common tests are GRE, GMAT, Miller Analogies Test, MCAT, OAT, DAT, and LSAT. These tests are typically taken the fall of your undergraduate senior year.

Follow these 5 steps to submit an application

  1. Application form
  2. Nonrefundable fees: Fees for graduate programs vary widely and can range from $25-$150.
  3. Personal statement: The personal statement carries a lot of weight in the application process. It needs to be well written and well thought out. It is your chance to state who you are, how you would make the school’s program better, and where you are going professionally.
  4. Transcripts: Generally, you will need to supply a transcript from each college/university that you have attended to the graduate program.
  5. Letters of recommendation: Most schools will ask you to supply either the names of three to five references or letters of recommendation. Generally recommendations will come from faculty, internship or clinical supervisors, employers, or others who can discuss your potential for graduate work.

The personal interview is generally the last stage of the application process and represents the culmination of your efforts. For those schools that utilize a personal interview, it is often one of the most important criteria used in admitting students into the program. The interview process allows the school to learn more about you and allows you to learn more about the school. For a list of questions that you can ask as a candidate download the document on the top right column. Also visit the Career Services Career Prep Resources age titled "Interviewing tips