5 Tips for Students Who Are Preparing for Graduate School

5 Tips for Students Who Are Preparing for Graduate School

Although an undergraduate degree is enough to get you a job, you may be aspiring for something more. You might be looking to gain more knowledge and skills. On the other hand, you think it’s the key to rise the ranks faster. Whatever your motivations might be, enrolling in higher studies is a great solution.

Applying to graduate school is no walk in the park, however. If you want to get into your program and/or school of dreams, then here are five prep tips you ought to follow: 

Decide What You Want to Study

Some people know from the get-go what they want to take. That said, they still have to decide on the specific path that they want to take. 

A business grad who wants to take an MBA, for example, will need to choose if they’re going to take the Entrepreneurship or Marketing track.

Making the right choice is even more critical for students faced with multiple options. Right before you get your baccalaureate degree, you already have to decide: what vocation do you wish to pursue?

If you’re a prospective Biology grad, for example, you have various options. You can go to Medical School or take a Master’s in Biology. You need to ask yourself, do you prefer clinical learning – or academia? 

When you know what you want to study, the lesser chances that you’ll get bored and drop out of the course. In addition, you can apply for one of the cheap Canadian institutions if you are interested in studying abroad in a foreign country. 

Explore Your Career Prospects 

Apart from pursuing your passion, it would help if you thought of your future career prospects.

Do you want to pursue a course that will fulfill you – or one that will make you financially stable? 

You’re lucky if the program will do both!  

For one, MBA, medical, or law students take the said courses because of the wealth of profitable careers that come their way. 

On the other hand, if you take a Ph.D., you should be open to taking a research or academic post. 

As for other programs, the experience might be fulfilling but not that lucrative. A graduate degree in Fiction Writing, for example, maybe rewarding. However, it often comes with less-profitable career options compared to those mentioned above. 

Take a Look at Your Finances

Unless you had an undergraduate scholarship or were funded by your parents, there’s a good chance that you’re sitting on some student debt.

And if you decide to go to graduate school, you need to be ready for the additional debt that will come your way. You have the option to borrow more money to pay off your tuition, after all. 

Graduate schooling, however, need not necessarily burn a hole in your wallet. 

Master’s degrees, for one, have limited funding compared to Ph.D. programs. Doctorate schools usually offer waived tuition fees – on top of stipends and allowances. 

That said, your financial situation should not deter you from pursuing a graduate degree. If you’re bent on taking a Master’s program, for example, you could start searching for full scholarships. 

Another option is to study abroad. Many prestigious international schools offer cheaper tuition. Some universities and foreign governments even provide scholarships to international students. 

If you don’t qualify for these awards, again, you shouldn’t lose heart. You always have the option to work while studying. You can make money out of your bachelor’s degree as you work on your MA or Ph.D. 

If all else fails, you can always take a loan for your schooling. Just think: it’ll improve your career – and lead to better wages (with which you can pay your loans.) 

Choose a School

Now that you have decided on a program – and a financial plan – it’s time to pick a school. 

As you choose one, you should consider the following factors:

Specialization and Track Record

If you’re planning on taking an MBA, then you’d want to pick a school that offers a reputable MBA program. 

You can also determine the school’s track record by taking a look at the alumni. Are they highly successful in their fields? 

Faculty

If you want to be the best, then you have to learn from the best. When you check a school, don’t forget to skim through the faculty profile on the university’s official website. 

Learning Options

Do you have the luxury of time to attend in-house classes? Or are you too busy that you can only make way for online programs? Can you do both? 

Tuition and Scholarship

This may be your primary concern if you’re strapped for cash. If you have limited funding, then your best option is to turn to public or state universities. 

Likewise, you may also set your sights on schools that offer generous scholarships or work-for-study programs. 

Just like when you applied to graduate school, it will help to apply to several schools. This is especially the case if you want to get started with schooling right away. 

Timing Matters

Now that you have chosen a school, it’s time to get to the nitty-gritty of things: the application process.

The most important thing here is to prepare your applications early. More often than not, prestigious schools and competitive programs close their doors early. 

For example, in most institutions, the deadline for Master’s applicants is from January to March. As for doctorate students, it’s January. Some schools even set their deadlines for December the previous year.

Preparing early is vital because you have to complete a long list of requirements. Depending on the school or program, you will need to prepare the following:

  • GRE, GMAT, or other tests
  • Recommendation letters
  • Statement of purpose
  • Research proposal

Because of these documents, academic experts recommend applicants start their packet as early as August. This will help you meet the deadlines – especially if you want to start graduate school the following year. 

Graduate education may be your key to a profitable, high-flying career. So if you want to get into the program or school of your dreams, you should follow these five essential preparation tips.