5 Steps to Choosing a Graduate Program

Thinking about going to grad school? Whether you’re a current college student planning for the next step or a working professional looking for further education, follow these five tips before making this major life decision:

Grad_School1. Consider the factors

Much like choosing a college for your undergraduate education, make sure that you consider all the necessary factors before committing to a grad program. Just because the grad school is well known doesn’t mean that the school or program is right for you.
Don’t commit to a school before thinking through important factors such as:

  • Cost
  • Location
  • Size
  • Academics/Curriculum
  • Faculty
  • Mission Statement/University Philosophy
  • Flexibility
  • Job Placement Rates

2. Do your research

It seems like a simple enough rule, but many people don’t do enough research before committing to a graduate education. Don’t just skim the materials you got in the mail or peruse through the school’s website.
If you haven’t done these things, you haven’t completed your research:

If you already have a full-time job, research what financing options your company offers. Some companies will help pay for your tuition and expenses.

3. Know your end goal

Getting a graduate education is an investment. You want to make sure that there’s a pay off when you graduate, whether it’s getting a promotion at your current job or learning necessary skills for job opportunities into a new field. You may also wish to pursue a graduate education for personal enrichment. Just make sure you have an end goal in mind before committing your time, money, and efforts to pursue a graduate education.

4. Talk to your family and friends

Communication is key. If you’re a college student, talk to your parents about financing a graduate education. They may also have valuable input regarding your decision and help you discover which factors you should consider.
If you’re married, discuss with your spouse the life changes that may occur after committing to a graduate education. As grad school affects your time, money, relationships, and other life responsibilities and duties, make sure that you discuss how your educational pursuits may affect your marriage.

5. Schedule a visit

Last, but not least, visit the school that you are interested in attending. Unless the program is online, make sure that you visit the school, sit in on a class, tour the facilities, and get a feel for what the university culture is like. While a grad experience is different from an undergrad experience, you’ll still spend a good portion of your time on campus, so make sure that you can see yourself there!
You know by now that getting an education requires a lot of work. So make sure you know what you’re getting in to! Considering these five steps can help you feel more certain that graduate school is the right decision for you.
In your grad school search, consider us at Cairn University. Located in Langhorne, PA, our biblical university offers graduate degrees in business, counseling, divinity, social work, and education. After you graduate from Cairn, you will be prepared and ready to make a difference in your workplace, community, church, and around the world. Cairn’s competitive tuition rates and financial aid packages can also help to make your graduate education affordable. Learn more here.

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