1) List your reasons for attending graduate school
- Better long-term career choices
- Job market (economic conditions)
- Passion for a certain field
You get the idea, writing down reasons will help you create a broad understanding of why you have chosen to apply for graduate school. Also, writing down your reasons should help you decide whether you want to attend graduate school for the right reason(s). I think it’s extremely important to be passionate about your field of study because the amount of work that will be required of you on a daily basis will easily weed out the students simply attending for resume building or monetary reasons.
2) List key factors you would like incorporated in your program
- Emphasis on Technology
- Global Perspective
- Industry leading professors
- Visit the website
- Email Graduate Admissions
- Schedule a visit
After listing your reasons for attending and your key factors, you should now have created a selective list of schools that meet your criteria. I highly recommend visiting the website for the graduate program and really researching everything about the program – This will really pay off if you decide to visit in the future. Also, don’t be afraid to email or call someone in admissions and have them answer some of your questions (that’s their job!). If you like what you see, schedule a visit.
4) Be Persistent
- Follow up
Last step – the visit. This is by far the most important step. Visiting the school will really help you decide if this is the place you want to be – It will hopefully give you a “feel” for your new university and help reassure your feelings about attending graduate school. Most graduate programs require an interview but if you are not required, I recommend you go ahead and schedule one. By scheduling an optional interview, the admissions department will be able to put a face to the name on an application and you will be setting yourself apart as a persistent and outgoing person (exactly what graduate schools look for). I made a point to include the interview and follow up because I believe these two steps really helped me get into my program. The power of a ten minute informal interview and a simple thank you note can go a very long way.