Considering Grad School?
By Bernard Freeman
For some students, college graduation just marks a change between different levels of education. Graduate school is a requirement in some fields, and for others, may lead to a more lucrative career down the road.
Duke University says that, when considering a graduate school, it’s important to consider the reputation of the institution and the program. Other things you should look for include:
- The faculty’s research interests and accessibility. Research should align with your own interest and faculty should be willing to help you along the way.
- The quality of research facilities, particularly if you’re interested in science or other fields that will require advanced research.
- Career paths of the students’ graduates.
- Availability of financial aid. Remember, some of the financial aid you may have received as an undergraduate may not be available to you as a graduate student.
- The cost of living and availability of housing.
- The social climate in the department and the support systems in place.
You should also consider part-time or full-time options for graduate school. Some programs require students to be enrolled full-time while others will allow part-time enrollment for students balancing work, school and life.
Potential students should also consider the length of the program to get a better understanding of how much time they’ll need to commit to their graduate degree. Bear in mind, part-time students will take longer to finish their degree than full-time students.
More and more, graduate programs are offering a hybrid or even entirely online option. This could be a great way for someone managing a full life to further their education without the hard deadlines of in-person attendance.
Also look into accreditation. It’s important in many fields to take a degree from an accredited institution, else it may be difficult to find work after graduation. Research the types of accreditation in your field and ask potential schools and departments about their accreditation and the accreditation process.
Once you narrow down your choices, get ready to apply. Graduate schools usually require fees to apply, and some may require letters of reference and extra testing. You should start planning early to make sure you can start your program on time.