Adulting 101: Finding The Perfect Graduate Program

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With seniors sending in those final grad school applications, juniors may be wondering ‘how’d they do it?’ Below is an easy step by step process to get you into your dream graduate program.

1. Shadow: Working in the field you thought you’d love and realizing it’s just not for you can be discouraging. However, it’s better to find out now than after you’ve paid who knows how much to go through a graduate program in the field.

2. Research Schools: If you don’t already have a specific program or school in mind there are many ways to narrow your search. Check if your field of study has book that outlines schools and programs with rates on things such as acceptance and financial assistance. For
example, the American Psychological Association publishes one called Graduate Study In
Psychology. US News and The Princeton Review are great to refer to for rankings and other
information about schools you are interested in. Our own Career Development Center can
also provide you with additional resources and organizes graduate school fairs through the
semester.

3. Visit: Talk to current students about their experience and ask professors or peers if they
know anyone currently attending that would offer up their experience. One of the most
important questions you can ask on your visit is what the school’s alumni are doing. You
want to make sure that the program you are considering is leaving its graduates with the
tools and qualifications to find a job.

4. Tests: Whatever test you are taking to enter into a graduate program, whether that be the LSAT or GRE, taking them in the summer is a good option. By taking these tests on your summer break you are giving yourself more time to prepare, as well as having the opportunity to retake it in the fall if you happen to be unhappy with your score. To reduce costs on prep books and classes ask some recent Transy grads what preps were most helpful to them and if they have any books they’d be willing to hand down.

5. Costs: Graduate programs are expensive and may have less opportunities for aid and
scholarships so it is important to consider your financial situation before applying. When you start researching varies programs make sure to check out how many of their students
received financial aid and the different scholarships you may be qualified for. Many schools
also offer teaching assistant positions that can help towards your tuition. If you are
considering taking a job before or while you are in grad school many employers will help pay for their employees to attend graduate school.

6. Apply: Most graduate school applications are due between October 31st and December 1st. The key to a great graduate school application is actually starting the application weeks in advance. Starting early gives you time to get in great recommendations, request transcripts, and fine tune any essays or personal statements.

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