Thinking about grad school? Today, it is extremely common for college students to consider attending graduate school to pursue a particular career requiring a graduate degree or solely for academic interest. The process may seem a bit overwhelming to start; it’s like applying to college all over again! But with the right resources and general information, you’ll be on your way to making a CLassy decision and finding out if grad school is right for you!
Take your time. This shouldn’t be a rushed decision – really do your research, ask around, visit schools. It is so important that you truly know what each grad school entails and what they expect of you. In addition, don’t waste time – once you know – gather everything together in advance.
Try it before you buy it! If your school offers graduate courses – even if it’s not in your specific field – go for it! You’ll get a real taste of what you’re in for, for the next few years. You don’t want to end up stuck in a place you’d rather not be.
Talk to your advisor/professors. If you’re on the fence, a great source is the faculty at your university. They can provide you with resourceful information, potential majors/schools, and the appropriate materials needed in order to apply – such as your letter of recommendation.
GOOD GRADES! Just like in high school, good grades are essential to acceptance to a great grad school.
Letter of Recommendation. Like I said above, it is so important to have letters of recommendation – at least three. Often, universities pay special attention to what the letters have to say and whom they’re from. Pick employers, professors, and faculty that you have developed a close relationship to, who you have received an “A” from, or who can speak well about you and your work ethic.
Plan AHEAD. Contact those you wish to write your letter of recommendation early. Take the required tests early. Write your essay/personal statement early. Apply early. Not only to ensure you get everything done in time, but also for your own sanity and so that you can breathe and enjoy senior year!
Above all, know before you go, make sure you know what grad school really entails and if it is truly for you – before you invest so much time in it and send in your application. And if it’s not, that’s okay! But be sure to have your post-college preparation ready!