Last week, the Blog covered what you need to know before applying to graduate school. Tara Kuther, Ph.D says, “your choice of graduate program is a difficult but very important decision that will shape your career and many parts of your life, both during and after graduation.” She has quite a bit of advice that addresses the importance of attending to your personal life when making the decision for a specific graduate school. For example:
- Where will you live? Does the institution offer subsidized or off-campus housing?
- Is working off-campus permitted?
- Are students permitted to work on multiple research projects with multiple faculty?
- Do you know anyone nearby?
- How far will you be from home?
In addition, there are lifestyle changes that you are likely to encounter that may be unexpected. The differences between undergraduate school and graduate school are considerable. Greater autonomy and less structure is one of the bigger changes you can expect. An Idealist.org post reminds grad school hopefuls that “there’s a general expectation that grad students will be mature self-starters who can navigate the ins and outs of the program, from administrative tasks to academic pursuits. Depending on your program, this may mean making a lot more decisions about course choices and how to structure your studies than you ever did at the undergraduate level.”
Among other changes will be the age and experience of your fellow students, campus life or the lack of it, time commitments, employment needs, financial readiness, and personal/social life. A discussion of these topics is addressed at two different places on Idealist.org. See the following:
Finally, last fall (October 2nd to be exact), a Career Services Blog post addressed four common questions surrounding the decision to pursue graduate school and the application process?
- Should I attend? Now or later?
- Can I switch fields and go to graduate school in a different area?
- What do graduate schools want?
- What do I need to know about letters of recommendation?
Perhaps you will want to re-read that blog post today, as well as our other posts on Graduate School topics.
~Sharon Givler, director, career services