Tips to Help You Choose the Right Graduate School

  • offtocollege post - please share:
  • Venturing into a new phase of your life starts with knowing where to begin.

    If you have made the decision to attend graduate school, you may be overwhelmed with the first step — selecting the ideal graduate school for that next phase of your professional life.

    Daunting as it may be, the rewards are clear — those with a master’s degree or higher earned about 18 percent more on average than those with a bachelor’s degree, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

    But, with the sheer number of options out there for postgraduate education, many students can be forgiven for feeling a certain amount of anxiety when faced with the choice. Fortunately, you can put yourself on solid ground when taking that first step on your way to a new professional life through proper preparation. Here are some tips to help you start off on the right foot.

    1. Know what you want

    Graduate school is a serious commitment, and hopefully by now you have put a serious amount of thought into your professional goals. Even if you are confident in your professional goals, it can be helpful to find a professional in your chosen career path to talk to about the types of specific skills and concentrations you may need. Having a clear picture of exactly what you need to learn will help you choose a graduate school that can provide you with that knowledge.

    2. Do your research

    Knowing what you are looking for in a graduate school will help you ask the right questions when it comes time to research specific schools. Reviewing the graduate course catalog for each of your options is important, but also make sure to take a good look around the campus and determine whether or not each school has the resources to best serve your needs.

    Take the time to look into the types of grants, fellowships and/or assistantships each school offers. Do not neglect to look at what each school has to offer in the way of facilities, as well. A graduate school with an exemplary library system or state-of-the-art laboratories can do just as much to support your education as its faculty.

    3. Make connections

    There is more to determining which graduate school is right for you than what is included in the course catalog. The Princeton Review stresses the importance of having quality face-to-face time with faculty members as well as graduate students when making your decision. Talking to faculty can help you decide whether or not you would feel comfortable working with them as well as help bolster your application once you’ve made your decision.

    More important, however, could be the insights you gain from interviewing current graduate students. Their experience could be yours, after all, and finding out whether or not they feel satisfied with their education can go a long way toward helping you make a decision.

    4. Be selective

    Applying to multiple grad schools is a draining experience, emotionally and financially. Casting a wide net by applying to a large number of graduate schools is likely to do little more than dilute your attention and weaken your applications. It is in your best interest to narrow your focus to a handful of schools that fit best within your professional goals and personal preferences.

    As you probably did when choosing an undergraduate school, you will most likely want to divide your graduate school options into categories. Choose one or two schools you feel very confident about, two or three that are good fits for you but aren’t necessarily locks for acceptance, and one “dream school” that would be a long shot but meets all of your needs.

    Author Bio:
    Cindy Madden is Communications Manager at Stevenson University Online. Madden utilizes many methods to illustrate the value of Stevenson University’s adult bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Her skills emphasize the importance of working adults successfully completing their bachelor’s or earning their master’s degrees to advance or change their careers.

    Off-to-College reference:

    graduate planning guide

    $40.05Bestseller No. 1
    Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop, 15.6" Full HD IPS Display, AMD Ryzen 3 3200U, Vega 3 Graphics, 4GB DDR4, 128GB SSD, Backlit Keyboard, Windows 10 in S Mode, A515-43-R19L
    • AMD Ryzen 3 3200U Dual Core Processor (Up to 3.5GHz); 4GB DDR4 Memory; 128GB PCIe NVMe SSD
    • 15.6 inches Full HD (1920 x 1080) Widescreen LED backlit IPS Display; AMD Radeon Vega 3 Mobile Graphics
    • 1 USB 3.1 Gen 1 Port, 2 USB 2.0 Ports & 1 HDMI Port with HDCP support
    Bestseller No. 2
    Lenovo Flex 11 2-in-1 Convertible Laptop, 11.6 Inch HD Touchscreen Display, Intel Pentium Silver N5000 Processor, 4GB DDR4, 64 GB eMMC, Windows 10 in S mode, 81A70006US, Mineral Gray
    • POWERED BY INTEL: The Lenovo Flex 11 packs a punch with powerful Intel Pentium processing, 4 GB DDR4 memory and speedy 64GB of eMMC SSD storage
    • ON THE GO LAPTOP: Weighing in at just 2.75 lbs. and constructed with premium materials, this small, convertible laptop transitions seamlessly from work to play
    • VERSATILE CONNECTIVITY: With multiple ports including USB 3.0, Type-C, HDMI, and a 4-in-1 card reader, you'll be able to hook up your laptop computer to your existing...
    Bestseller No. 3
    2018 Acer 15.6' HD WLED Chromebook with 3x Faster WiFi Laptop Computer, Intel Celeron Core N3060 up to 2.48GHz, 4GB RAM, 16GB eMMC, 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2, USB 3.0, HDMI, Chrome OS
    334 Reviews
    2018 Acer 15.6" HD WLED Chromebook with 3x Faster WiFi Laptop Computer, Intel Celeron Core N3060 up to 2.48GHz, 4GB RAM, 16GB eMMC, 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2, USB 3.0, HDMI, Chrome OS
    • 15.6" 1366 x 768 HD resolution LED backlight display; Intel HD Graphics 400
    • Intel Celeron Dual-Core Processor N3060 (1.6GHz, Up to 2.48GHz)
    • 4GB LPDDR3, 16GB eMMC; No Optical Drive

    Last update on 2019-11-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

    facebook linkedin pinterest

    Amazon Affiliate Disclosure: is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to The commission earnings are used to defray our cost of operation.

    View our FTC Disclosure for other affiliate information.


    Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.