Even if you aren’t fortunate enough to snag a scholarship or get your company to pay your school fees, you should still be able to attend an excellent graduate school without having to be saddled with enormous student loan debt. Simple choices like studying locally so that you don’t have to re-locate, or studying at a state school, which usually offer significantly cheaper tuition rates than private schools can help you dramatically reduce costs.
And don’t forget about the online route either, as earning an online master’s degree will likely allow you to continue working full-time, avoid commuting costs, and potentially save a few thousand dollars on your tuition expenses. While it’s certainly not the case for every online school, many online graduate programs do offer substantially cheaper tuition rates than you would be able to find from traditional on-campus schools.
Ultimately, there’s no silver bullet here because you’re virtually guaranteed to need to make a considerable financial investment to pay for your graduate program, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to find the right program at the right price. Factoring some simple financial tips into your deliberations could stand to save you tens of thousands of dollars, without having to sacrifice attending a school that’s perfectly suited to meet your needs.
Research School Reputations
When looking at prospective master’s programs, don’t forget to evaluate school reputations, since these can have a significant impact on your postgraduate school experience.
Depending on what you want to do with your master’s degree, the reputation of the school and program that you’re attending could be either extremely important, or virtually worthless. For example, if you’re completing an MBA or a master’s degree so that you can eventually become a professional academic, then you will absolutely want to consider school’s with top-notch reputation in order to increase your chances of being hired.
If you want to get a master’s degree to earn a new skill set and receive training in some specific field, but you don’t think you’ll ever need to impress anyone with a fancy school’s name on your resume, then school reputations may not be quite as important to you.
To get some expert advice, reach out to professors from your undergraduate program and ask questions and recommendations on which school they would consider for your specific interests. Your professors should know a great deal about which schools have programs worth attending, and perhaps more importantly, which schools do not.
For a little less personal approach, online reviews can help you to get a general feel for the reputation of a school as well. If reviews are mainly negative, you should be asking yourself some critical questions about the school, but if they’re mainly positive or even a mixed bunch, then you may be able to proceed with less caution.