Graduate school is a huge commitment. Many times people who are thinking about graduate school have full time jobs and families to raise. Graduate school often times affects many areas such as:
So if you’re thinking about graduate school here are some questions to consider to help you make the right choice for you and those around you.
1. Location of the School
If you are considering attending an on campus program then you have to make sure the city or town will be a good fit. You will be living in the community for 2-6 years, so you will want to make sure you and your family will be comfortable. Many graduate school students focus on the program and school only without doing their research about the community.
Graduate school often means a drop in quality of life. You sacrifice now for greater gains later. Ask yourself if you are willing to downsize homes, live away from your family, not have as much money as you are accustomed. If you have a family you want to make sure they are aware of how your decision will affect them as well.
3. Degree Programs
A master’s degree in communications at one school may be radically different at another. You will want to make sure you speak with program officials and look at the course catalog to see if the degree is in line with your area of interest and your career goals.
Most master’s degree programs cost a lot more money than an undergraduate degree. The financial aid options are often more limited too. Most students borrow money which means a lot of debt when it is all said and done.
Most programs can be finished in a couple of years, but some take as long as six years if you are taking the program part-time. If you want to attend part-time, make sure the program has the option.
You’ll be doing a lot of research in graduate school so you want to make sure the campus or online campus has a lot of resources.
Faculty make or break a graduate degree program. You want faculty members who are at the top of their fields. Your graduate advisor should also be very helpful and accessible to you should you have questions about advising and career planning.
8. On-campus or On-line
Many master’s degree programs are now offered on-line. You will want to decide if this is the route you would like to take. It is a great option for students who are place bound and want to continue working.
Check ranking lists to see if the program you are considering ranks highly. Don’t attend just because of the ranking, but consider it.
Make sure the school and program are accredited at the institutional and program levels.