You may be coming close to the end of your bachelor’s degree and you can’t help but wonder: what’s next? For many, the future is set on finding a job related to their major. For others, staying in school for an additional few years is the right move. Why would someone want to go to graduate school? Well, it gives you time to build your resume and will grant you a degree that can help provide higher-paying opportunities. Now that you’ve decided on graduate school, what’s next? Here are four things you should know about graduate school.
- Decide what you want to study.
Why do you want to go to grad school? Do you want to continue in something related to your major or would you like to branch out a little? It’s crucial to look into your own interests and the future of your field. For example, I am currently a communications studies major with a focus in journalism. The current market for journalism tends to appreciate experience in the field rather than a master’s in the field. This isn’t to discourage you from studying the same thing as undergrad but know that there are plenty of other options as well.
- Do some research about various programs.
Remember how stressed you were when you applied to different colleges? Take what you learned then and apply it now. Browse through college and university’s pages and read about their programs. Reach out to advisors to learn more about the classes, atmosphere and the application process. If you can, take the time to visit the school to see it first hand. Schools and programs may seem one way online but look completely different once you’re there.
- Stay organized and apply on time.
Once you’ve compiled a list of the schools you’re truly interested in, give yourself time to complete the applications long before they’re due; especially if you’ll be applying to three or more schools. Grad applications tend to ask for a resume, an essay of intent, recommendation letters and sometimes even GRE scores. This means that you’ll need extra time to study and prepare for the GRE if the program of your choice requires it. Additionally, it is important to only apply to programs you’re truly passionate and interested in. Not only do applications take time, but they also take money as you must pay a fee when you apply to a school. Remember to write down important deadlines to avoid missing the due date.
- Look for funding.
Once you’ve applied, start looking for scholarships and other ways to fund your education. Many programs offer graduate assistantships which can be seen as a work-study position for graduate school. Another option is scholarships; although, there are fewer opportunities for graduate school as opposed to undergrad programs. Lastly, some companies may even help fund your education so never be afraid to ask your job if that is an option.
Although the researching and application process may seem confusing and even scary, remember that you’ve done it before and can surely do it once again. It’s true that graduate school may not be for everyone but you won’t know unless you give it a chance and look into it. Keep your mind open, you’ll never know where life takes you.