Factors to Consider when Applying to Graduate School

  • What type of a program interests you most? One with an emphasis in student development? higher education administration? counseling? public policy? or, another related field (i.e., community college, multicultural emphasis, etc)?

  • Are you interested in full-time or part-time study? Do you want to take classes during the day, in the evening, or on weekends? Are you interested in classes that are primarily online, campus-based, or a mixture of both?

  • What type of institution would you like to attend? Public or private? Urban, rural, or suburban? Residential or commuter? Research or comprehensive?

  • Where do you want to study? In a particular part of the country, or particular state? Are you willing to move? Or, do you want to stay close to home?

  • What types of assistantships and/or professional experiences are available to students? Research opportunities? Publication opportunities? Assistantship and/or internship opportunities? Professional presentation opportunities?

  • What types of financial assistance are available? Loans? Grants? Fellowships? Scholarships? Assistantships? Job support or subsidies? Job income/work study?

  • What are the faculty members' areas of expertise or research interests? Are they involved in professional associations? What is the availability and quality of mentor/advisor relationships?

  • What are the program's academic requirements? Course requirements? Electives? Does the program require oral or written comprehensive exams? A thesis or dissertation? Are internships/practica available? How many years does it "typically" take students to complete the degree?

  • What are your personal career goals? Do you want to work in a particular functional area (i.e., greek life, residence life, assessment)? Does the institution have student affairs departments in those areas?

  • How important are peer and classmate interactions? Are your peers recent college graduates or have they been in the field for a number of years?

  • What types of positions have most recent graduates of the program taken? Is there an active alumni network?

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