By Christina Badali, Arame Mbodji, Brittany Masi and Arisleydi Garcia: Peers for Careers Correspondents
(As orginally published in the Ticker: http://ticker.baruchconnect.com/article/career-corner-your-options-for-graduate-school/
Applying to graduate school can be overwhelming. In order to narrow the search, students should answer the following key questions:
Why do you want to go to graduate school? How long do you see yourself in school? Are you willing to move for school? Would you enroll full-time or part-time?
How are you going to pay for school? Are you willing to take out student loans?
Once students have an understanding of what they are looking for, they can form their list of programs using online resources like gradschools.com. Information on this website includes duration of the program, location of the school, degrees offered, tuition costs and financial aid.
Keep in mind that there are independent scholarships available to students based on field of interest, demographics and military experience, to name a few.
You should also contact the admissions office of specific programs to ensure that the information you obtained is accurate. Next, you will have to determine whether or not you need to take an entrance exam.
Graduate school entrance tests are field-specific. These exams are prepared by teachers and practitioners in the industry and are used to determine if you have the skills required to succeed.
Some graduate programs will give you the option of different exams that you may take while others may ask you to take more than one. For this reason, it is important to find out which tests are required for your program. GRE, GMAT and LSAT are some of the requisite standardized tests.
In cases where taking an entrance exam is not a requirement, it is important to consider costs and whether taking standardized tests will make your application stronger.
There are various ways of studying for entrance exams, and you should choose what best fits your learning style.
However, the cost should also be taken into
Private tutoring and test preparation classes are often very expensive.
A cheaper alternative is to use study guides that can be purchased at bookstores. Additionally, online guides and sample tests are available at minimal or no cost. It is important to give yourself plenty of time to study.
The more you study, the more confident you will feel.
Students will most likely apply to more than one program, and it is likely that each program will have varying application deadlines.
For this reason, it is important to stay organized throughout the application process.
It may be helpful to create a spreadsheet that lists all of the programs to which you will be applying with a column specifically for important deadlines. In another column, you should include the personal statement prompt required of the admissions application.
Lastly, in order to remain as organized as possible, it is important to keep track of when you are submitting application documents.
These include entrance exam scores, undergraduate transcripts, a personal statement and the application itself. By keeping track of when these documents are submitted in your spreadsheet, you will eliminate the chances of submitting an incomplete application.
By taking these tips into consideration, you will be able to survive the graduate school application process, hopefully with an offer of acceptance from the school of your top choice.