It is important to assess your interests, skills, and values and clarify specific career goals before you begin the process of choosing a program to apply for admission.
Identifying Potential Schools
- Use GradSchools.com and Peterson's.com.
- Graduate School program descriptions via links to specific school on the web.
- Talk with faculty and alumni for recommendations of programs to consider.
- Read professional journals and posters in academic departments.
- Download application materials directly from the graduate programs.
- Check ratings in various publications (U.S. News and World Reports) and also professional associations regarding the reputation for academic preparation.
- Visit campuses: talk to students, faculty, attend a couple of classes.
Comparing Graduate Schools/Programs
There are many important factors to consider when comparing programs and schools. These factors include:
- Personal interests, goals, needs
- Costs, financial aid offered
- Reputation of program and faculty
- Locations, size, facilities of school
- Requirements, departmental courses and offerings, and design of program (thesis vs. non-thesis, comprehensive exams, practical experience)
- Entrance requirements (GPA, tests, course prerequisites)
- Housing options
- Assistance from mentors and success of graduates in finding employment upon completion of the degree
- Application requirements and ratio of applications to acceptances (acceptance rate)
- The research and teaching interests and biographical backgrounds of the faculty members.
Making Your Decision
- Apply as early as possible
- Narrow your list of schools to 4-6. Application fees can get expensive!
- Apply to reach schools, probable admits, and also have a least one safety school.
- Think about your match with the schools – what kind of graduate experience would you like to have? (i.e. location, size, similar to/different from Wooster, relationships with faculty, emphasis on theory vs. application)