Thinking about getting your master’s after graduation? Here are steps and questions to ask yourself when navigating through the process of applying to graduate school.
- What are your goals? What type of program do you want to apply for?
- Where do you want to go geographically?
- Not sure where to start? Review program rankings websites.
- Skim over school websites; write down names of ones that stand out.
- Narrow down the institutions you like. Will this institution help you reach your goals? Is this institution accredited?
- Weigh location vs. institution.
- Make a list: favorites, neutral, backup.
- Toss a wide net.
- Research school/program website. What are the requirements? How long is the program?
- Make phone calls to the graduate admissions office and/or program office and have questions prepared.
- Research the institution’s alumni and the types of roles they hold. Consider reaching out for informational interviews.
- Go on a campus tour/campus visit.
- Any specific faculty you want to work with?
Gather Application Materials
- Make a schedule: Plan your time and know your deadlines.
- Professional document review: Resume, cover letter, letters of recommendation.
- Prepare for any standardized tests and test dates.
- Collect any financial aid documents.
Questions for On-site Programs
- Is the location where you want to live?
- What are the housing options on and off campus?
- What would your commute look like?
- What is the surrounding area like?
- Will you enjoy living there?
Questions for Virtual Programs
- What networking, social, and community-focused events are available for online students?
- Will courses be at a date and time (synchronous) or will videos be uploaded and homework due at a certain date and time (asynchronous)?
- Will there be virtual office hours?
- What resources are available for online students’ success when not on campus?
Questions for Part-Time vs. Full-Time Programs
- What are the professional demographics of other students? What do they usually do after graduation?
- Is there flexibility in which classes you take in a part-time vs. full-time program?
- Questions to ask yourself:
- What does time management look like for me in a full-time or part-time program?
- Will I have the energy and physical space to do more work in a shorter time, or be in school for a longer period of time?
Application and Final Steps
- Have all your required documents and references in order.
- Complete all required testing.
- Submit applications by deadline.
- Research relevant financial aid supports.
- Confirm enrollment and make your deposit.
- Are fellowships offered? How do I obtain one? Is there a deadline? How many students have one?
- What is student life like? What do students do for fun? What on-campus opportunities are there?
- Be brief, polite, and professional, when asking for letters of recommendation.
- All program deadlines will be different. Keep a log of deadlines, dates, and important information.