Although graduation is a satisfying and fulfilling experience, it presents the problem of deciding what to do next. In any academic field there are a variety of post-graduate paths to choose from, such as internships, full time employment, and graduate school. With graduation quickly approaching, I have been adamant about figuring out what I will do with the next step of my educational career. I plan on becoming a college professor, so I will need to obtain my masters and doctorate degree in order to teach at the collegiate level. This means that the next step for me is applying for grad school. I have already submitted my applications and am awaiting responses. If you are thinking of applying to grad school, here is some advice that will help to guide you in your application experience.
Which school is the best for you?
So you know why you should go to grad school. The first order of business in applying to graduate schools is choosing which schools to apply to. Things to consider when making this decision are the reputation, mission, location, and cost of the school. You should want to be a part of an academic institution that has a good reputation and high standing within your field. You should also look at the school’s mission statement to see if its views, goals, and ambitions align with yours. Be sure that the schools you apply to are located in a place in which you would not mind living for a few years. Consider not only the cost of attending the school, but the cost of applying. Graduate school applications can range from 50 to 75 dollars, which is a reason to be selective about where you apply. I would advise against applying to schools that you cannot envision yourself attending, so be sure that every school you apply to is a legitimate option.
Get Together Your Paperwork
The next thing to do is to get started! It is easy to procrastinate when it comes to grad school applications, especially when the deadlines are far in the future. Do not allow the deadlines to sneak up on you and cause you to rush your applications. There will usually be two deadlines: a priority deadline and a regular deadline. When you apply before the priority deadline you are put into the running for merit-based scholarships, which are often given out on a first come, first served basis. You will want to get your applications in as soon as possible in order to have the best chance for the most scholarships. Also, be sure to ask your recommenders for their recommendations far in advance, as they may take a long time to get to your recommendation. You do not want your application held up by a busy professor or professional connection.
Thankfully, my application process has gone very smoothly. I found three schools that fit my academic plans, started early, and got all my applications done in good time. I made the priority deadline, and my recommenders submitted their recommendations right on schedule. Now comes the fun part: the waiting. It feels good to have all of the hard work out of the way, but now I am anxious to hear back from the schools I applied to. Hopefully this advice will help grad school applicants to be at ease as they apply.