Top Things to Consider Before Applying to a Graduate Program

Graduate school has been a huge benefit to me personally. It also is an enlightening experience compared to my time as an undergrad. There are a plethora of career opportunities that you can access from many graduate programs. The question I often get is, what are things to consider in a graduate program? There are plenty of things to consider as graduate students or potential grad students.


The first and foremost thing to look into when considering a grad program is the program itself. This may be so simple but this is actually probably one of the more difficult processes. The reason is because you have to do your own research. Then you have to investigate a few things, for example, does the program focus on theory and original research. This is important because trust me, you will be doing a whole lot of research in grad school. You should also look for what specializations are available. 


The reputation of the program definitely plays a part. Make a list of grad programs you are considering. Select based on how accomplished a university is because you’ll have a better chance of getting employed once you graduate. You will also have better prospects for internships and the opportunity to network with highly acclaimed professors. A majority of job opportunities come from networking, so definitely try to put yourself in the best position possible.

If you hope to develop relationships with industry leaders, select a school that prides itself on real-world orientation and offers you chances to mingle with living legends.

If you want a program that encourages graduates to network then seek a school with a well-developed alumni relations office. Questions like these should be considered: Is the university accredited? Is the program nationally ranked in terms of excellence? Is the program well established or relatively new? Who has graduated from the program and what are they doing now? What is the attrition level?


The final factor to consider is the cost. You want your program to be affordable and to get the best bang for your buck. Cost is something that you should be familiar with already as an undergrad student. My advice is never go too high or too low; find out how much your education is really worth.  Try to gain insights on your financial aid options, and look for scholarships first above all else because those will be a huge help. Questions like: What are the tuition and fees? What financial aid is available in the form of loans, scholarships, internships and work study funds? How much does the school cost, including living expenses? Are there any scholarships or fellowships available to students to help pay for their program? How can you apply for them?


So finding your perfect grad program may be a huge task and take a lot of boring research. The question is are you willing to do it and how much is your education worth. 


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