While it’s not easy, grad school is worth the effort.

Comic Credit: PHD Comics

Grad school ain’t easy folks. If you are hoping for a good time and easy A’s, then you can stack that dream in the same pile as mine. Much to my dismay, my acceptance into the MPA program didn’t automatically come with a side of seven extra hours to each day.

I won’t sugar coat the truth. Working through the courses, independent studies, internships and thesis hours will stretch your limits in ways that surprise you. You will be forced to find balance (Megs has a good post on finding balance) in order to be successful in school, your relationships, and in your career.  You won’t be alone, though. Our professors and colleagues are a great support network; they inspire us to redefine our definition of success, and provide encouragement every step of the way.

If you are considering earning another degree, let us help you. Over the next few weeks, we will share tips with you for each step of the application process. The first is how to choose a graduate school. We hope you will consider one of the 27 programs offered through The Graduate School of the College of Charleston. If another school best fits your career goals and personality, we will understand. It’s not you, it’s us. We’ve heard it before, but do try to let us down easy.

Ok, so where do you find information?

Comic Credit: PHD Comics

Career and education fairs. If you’re an undergraduate student, see if your school is hosting a Graduate and Professional School fair.  These are often held during the Fall semester and sponsored by the Career Center.

Browse the internet. Explore websites that are dedicated to graduate education such as gradschools.com and petersons.com.

  • The Princeton Review. Sending out grad school applications is time-consuming and expensive. Skip the blitz method; don’t apply to every school with a program in your field. Instead, focus your attention and energy on a few carefully chosen schools.
  • Quintcareers.com. You’ll find the information you need to evaluate each program in various graduate school guides and directories, as well as from the catalogs and Websites of the individual graduate programs that interest you.

Social networking has removed a lot of the mystery away from administrators within graduate school offices. Oftentimes, you can easily find administrators, faculty, and even students online. At the College of Charleston, we make it easy for you to get in touch with our community via this blog, our Facebook account, LinkedIn and even Twitter. Want to talk with the Dean of The Graduate School? Ok. Dean McCandless is @TheGradDean.

Get opinions. Gather opinions not just on graduate school programs, but also on whether you should enroll as a full-time student, or part-time and maintain your job. Do not hesitate to make contact with a school at multiple levels: the graduate school office, the departmental office, key faculty members and student associations. Also, speak with friends of your family who are prominent alumni, and even current graduate students.

Related Posts:
The New GRE
The Quest for a Scholarship
Finding Balance as a Graduate Student

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