The End is Just Beginning
By: Ariel Cochrane-Brown, M.Ed.
PhD Student, Educational Research & Policy Analysis
Office of Graduate Student Mentoring & Success
Earning a bachelor’s degree is not the end of the road for many individuals. Whether pursuing a career in education or in another area, graduate degrees are becoming the standard for many entry level positions. Below are a few steps to help get the ball rolling in the right direction for your graduate school pursuit.
1. Cultivate relationships with instructors and professionals with whom you meet. You never know when you will need a letter of recommendation or an advocate to put in a good word. Whether you want to go to graduate school or into the workforce, strengthening your network is always something you can improve upon, and it is never too early to start.
2. Determine if graduate school is for you. Graduate school is an investment of your time, energy, and money. Before taking on such a difficult task, research and reflect on whether graduate school is necessary and truly for you.
3. Research programs that fit your interests. There are many ways to learn about graduate schools/programs that fit your academic and professional goals. Visit the website of the professional associations that serve your career field. They often have search engines to help find graduate programs in that field. Explore the websites of schools in which you are interested. Ask professionals in your field of interest about their graduate institutions and experiences.
4. Take whichever standardized test is required for admission into your program of interest. Whether your program requires the GRE, GMAT, or any other standardized test, be sure to prepare for and take the test well before the program’s application deadline. Give yourself time for your scores to come in and for you to take it again if you did not perform as well as you know you could.
5. Apply, apply, apply! Apply to graduate programs that fit your needs; not just academically, but professionally, personally, and in any other way necessary. Remember, keep track of required application materials and deadlines, and illustrate how your admission into a particular program would be mutually beneficial to you and the school.
Even if graduate school is not in your immediate plan after college, these tips are helpful for anyone considering embarking on the graduate school journey at some point in their lives.