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Researching grad school

Researching Grad Schools

Selecting the Right Program

Your assessment of your skills, interests, values, and goals will help guide you in selecting a graduate program that is right for you. In order to select a school that meets your needs, follow the steps below:

Identify Potential Schools

  • Use guides such as Peterson's - available in the University Career Center' (UCS) Career Resource or online at Petersons.com
  • Find out more about the admissions process at GraduateSchoolAdmissions.com
  • Ask Faculty for recommendations of programs to consider
  • Visit you University Career Center office for information on various graduate programs

Research Schools

  • Request catalogues and application materials directly from the graduate programs
  • Check rankings in several publications (eg. US News & World Report: USNews.com)
  • Look at general resources such as GradSource.com, GradSchools.com
  • Visit campuses: talk to students and faculty, and attend a couple of classes

Rankings of Graduate School Programs

Each of these sites will provide information on the rankings of various graduate programs. Remember to review these rankings with a grain of salt.

Compare Graduate Schools/Programs

All of the following are important to consider:

  • Your interests, goals, needs
  • Financial aid opportunities, cost and residency requirements
  • Ability to gain practical experience during the program (assistantships, research)
  • Ratio of applications to acceptances
  • Current research, publications, and professional involvement of the faculty
  • Rating and/or accreditation of the program
  • Housing options and community environment
  • Entrance requirements
  • Flexibility of the curriculum and length of the program
  • Availability of placement services and placement outlook (eg. Percentage of students who have a job at graduation, average salary of graduates.)

Make a Decision about Which Schools to Apply to

  • Apply as early as possible
  • Narrow down your list of schools to 4-8
  • Apply to 'reach schools' (schools that you have a slight chance of being admitted to, 'probable admits' (schools you have a good chance of being admitted to), and at least one 'safety school' (schools you have a very good chance of being admitted to).
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