Choosing a School Part 1

How to Choose a Graduate School

Now that you know why you should go to graduate school, the obvious next step in the process is determining which one you want to attend. It’s time to complete your graduate school search!

Despite the fact that many undergraduate school’s offer graduate programs as well, you might not want to attend a grad program at the same college where you earned your undergraduate degree, since there be better opportunities for you elsewhere.

People attend graduate schools for different reasons, and your specific reasons should be the factors you use to decide which school most deserves your hard-earned money. Here comes the rub – how are you to compare schools with each other to figure out which one will be your best fit?

Should you utilize one of the many graduate school finders online, or make the decision for yourself? If it were up to us, we’d make sure that everyone did their own research, as there are some extremely important considerations to take into account when choosing a graduate program.

Want to know how to choose a graduate school program for yourself? Pay close attention to these fundamental factors to help you make your decision.

  1. Program Price – Dollars & Cents count. Spend your tuition wisely, or you could end up regretting it later.
  2. School Reputation – What will potential hiring managers think of your degree? Does it confer true value in the marketplace, or is the school considered a diploma mill?
  3. Alumni Success – Is there an alumni network that you can leverage to help break into your new career? How have other alumni fared after graduating?
  4. Program Flexibility – Will you have to quit your day job to attend courses here? Could you study part-time, in the evenings, or entirely online, without having to sacrifice regular pay checks?
  5. School Faculty – What does your field think about the Professors you’ll be studying under? Are they thought leaders in this space, or has no one heard of them before?
  6. Career Opportunities – Are employers clamoring to get at graduates from the school? What percentage of students graduate with jobs already lined up?
  7. School Size – Will you be just another number among a vast sea of unknown people, or will you receive personal attention? What size campus do you want to attend?
  8. Program Length – How long will it take to finish your degree so you can get back into the workforce and start working in your chosen field?
  9. School Location – Do you want to live near the beach, in the mountains, or somewhere in between? Are you near reliable employment opportunities, or will you be forced to relocate after graduating?
  10. Consider The Price

Chances are your parents won’t be footing the bill for your graduate education, so the price of your degree is probably going to play a huge role in your decision-making process. Be aware that many graduate programs offer scholarships and fellowships, and some jobs will even pay your tuition toward completing a master’s degree, but not everyone qualifies for these types of financial assistance. However, that doesn’t mean that you necessarily have to fork out a boatload of money to earn your master’s degree either, since prices fluctuate from school to school.