Why Graduate School?

Before researching programs or preparing application materials, first reflect on your motivations for pursuing a graduate degree and honestly assess what you’re hoping to gain and why you feel a graduate degree is the right course of action. The decision to pursue an advanced degree should not be taken lightly. Graduate School is a tremendous investment of time, energy, and financial resources. Use the questions below to begin the reflection process:

  • Why do you feel you are ready to pursue a graduate degree? Are you committed to a specific field of study?
  • What are your personal and professional goals, and how will the degree help you achieve these goals?
  • Are you pursuing this degree for yourself or to satisfy the expectations of others?
  • In what ways might you benefit from a year or two of work experience before graduate school?
  • Are you willing and able to make the necessary financial commitment to support graduate school?

Examine your reasons carefully. Are they logical? How committed are you? Think about your future career; what degree will best prepare you? Talk with professionals in your field of interest to gauge how different degree options are viewed — you may also find there are a variety of paths to reach your intended destination. Overall, you need a clear understanding of your goals before applying and ultimately choosing a program. OCS can serve to supplement the advice of the faculty by focusing on how your decision integrates with your overall career goals and by supporting you through the application process.

Financing Graduate School – PhD Programs

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Direct and Indirect Costs

The direct costs of attending graduate school include tuition and fees. Students are also often required to buy themselves health insurance in order to be enrolled. Each school has different tuition and fee charges and different …

By Meredith Mira
Meredith Mira Senior Associate Director Meredith Mira
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Taking Standardized Tests for Graduate School

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Standardized Tests

Standardized tests are used in combination with your other application materials to gauge your preparation for graduate-level work. Tests may be general or subject-specific depending on the subject and program requirements. Determine which, if any, standardized tests you …

By Meredith Mira
Meredith Mira Senior Associate Director Meredith Mira
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Requesting Letters of Recommendation for Graduate School

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Letters of Recommendation

Graduate programs will commonly require 2-3 letters of recommendation. Letters of recommendation allow an admissions committee to understand your strengths, weaknesses, and potential from another person’s perspective. Programs may specify the type of recommendations they require, ranging …

By Meredith Mira
Meredith Mira Senior Associate Director Meredith Mira
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Writing Personal Statements for Graduate School

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Personal Statements

Preparing a well-written and effective personal statement (sometimes referred to as statements of purpose or personal essays) that clearly articulates your preparation, goals, and motivation for pursuing that specific graduate degree is critically important. You will need …

By Meredith Mira
Meredith Mira Senior Associate Director Meredith Mira
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