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How to Choose a Graduate School

According to recent news, the economic recession has led to a growing interest in graduate programs. It may seem a little surprising that at a time when many college grads are twiddling their thumbs without jobs, there are people who would want to invest their precious time and some serious money in a graduate program. However, the trend makes perfect sense; while economic slowdown may close some doors, it does open other windows of opportunity, and graduate programs are just that. Not only can graduate programs help people to rediscover the joys of learning and to upgrade their skills, but students in graduate programs are spending their time making their resumes that much stronger while waiting for the job market to get healthier. Graduate school can also make students healthier: being out of a job for a prolonged period is bound to have a psychological impact. People start struggling with self-worth and confidence issues. Instead, enrolling in graduate school can give them a sense of achievement, and motivate them to aim higher in life. But as we all know, graduate programs are not cheap, and the decision to go back to school could have huge financial implications for you and your family. So it’s important to carefully weigh your financial situation before you start scouting grad schools. Choosing a Graduate School Once you know you are financially up for the challenge that graduate school can present, the rest is a matter of research and planning, to choose a graduate program that fits your lifestyle and educational goals. The first step when choosing a graduate school is to shortlist the ones that offer the program you’re interested in. Since there’s likely to be large number of graduate programs with the classes you need, the next step is to narrow down your choices to the reputable schools into which you have a realistic chance of getting accepted. In other words, make sure you meet the eligibility criteria and other requirements of the program and the school you choose, to avoid any disappointment later on. And then a number of other factors come into play. Since graduate school is about specialized and focused study in a particular field and involves a fair bit of research, you may want to ensure the faculty of your chosen school is qualified and experienced enough to provide you the mentorship and guidance you need. The facilities available at the school should also be considered. Does the school have a structure in place that facilitates research? Does it have a well-equipped library and a functional lab where you can conduct experiments? Does it have a strong student support program? Does it help students find placement after graduation? Does it have a partnership with local businesses and research organizations for externships and practicums? All these are important considerations when choosing a graduate school. Are the classes offered flexible enough to fit into your already busy and established life? Does the school you’re interested in offer online degree programs? The availability of an online degree program can also impact another important factor in choosing a school: the location of the campus and its size. Is the campus close to home, so that the commute is reasonable, or will you be able to take some classes online? How does the size of the school affect the class size and the student-to-professor ratio? An online degree program is a great possibility to consider to minimize your commute, maximize your interaction with your professor and all your classmates, and to keep the associated costs of attending college down, limiting the financial strain that graduate programs can put on your budget.


How to Choose a Graduate School  

The article "How to Choose a Graduate School" highlights the importance of graduate education and its need during this time of recession. Fu...

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