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Graduate School Search/Application

Whether you are just exploring the idea of going to graduate school or certain you will be working toward an advanced degree after your time at RWU, the Career Center should definitely be a stop on your quest for information and guidance.

Is graduate school the right choice for me?

Yes. No. Maybe. You are the only one who can make that decision. For some people it makes sense. Others might even conduct a job search and graduate school search simultaneously. It all depends on you. We recommend coming in for an individual appointment to talk this out, but here is a question you should ask yourself:

What is your reason for wanting to go to graduate school? What your answer is is not as important as having an answer. You need to know why you want to go, and then you'll be more prepared to start your search for a program and school.

How to get started with the graduate school search.

  • Decide on a program first, the schools with that program can then be identified and you can then decide on a school.
  • To do that, visit our links, or use Career Center library resources to research what kinds of programs there are.
  • Talk to people who are already in the career field you want to pursue and find out what advanced degrees they have and from where they received them.
  • Research jobs using our links, HAWKS HUNT, or the websites of employers that interest you to find out what educational level and type of degree is being asked for the jobs you want.
  • Think about what classes you enjoyed as an undergraduate, what would interest you to study further, and what are you passionate about (graduate study will require a very in-depth study into the field you choose, so make sure it will hold your interest .
  • How long do you want to be going to graduate school and what do you want to make sure you get out of the experience?
  • Do you wish to go full time or part time?
  • Where do you want to study (near the ocean, at a large institution, in a large city, somewhere far away from home, where)? What is important to you about location, size of school, size of program, availability of financial assistance?

The graduate school application process.

  • Once you have identified a program, you will be able to identify a list of schools that have that program - then you can use your criteria to pare that list down (there is no magic number to reach).
  • Are you ready to apply to those school's programs that meet all of your criteria (please do not apply to schools you do not actually want to attend)?
  • Be aware of all deadlines associated with the application process for each school that you are considering.
  • Make an appointment with the Career Center to discuss references, or letters of recommendation, and essays, or personal statements.
  • Have a draft essay, or personal statement critiqued by a Career Center staff member.

Preparing for graduate school entrance exams.

  • Go back to your list of schools and make sure you you know what entrance exam(s) will be required.
  • Go to the website of the entrance exam organization or pick up a catalog in the Career Center to find out more about the exam(s).
  • Research when/where you can take the exam(s) and how to register for one.
  • Take practice exams.

Information on paying for graduate school.

Rule #1, try NOT to pay for graduate school yourself.

You may be surprised to know that there are lots of people who will pay for it for you.

  • Employers: If you want to work full time, you can look for employers with benefits packages that include tuition reimbursement .
  • Government: You will be filling out a FAFSA, just like you did for your undergraduate years for financial aid.
  • Assistantships: This one is key - an assistantship generally consists of you working (what amounts to a part-time job) for the institution (usually in the department of your program, but not necessarily) teaching, researching, or serving in an administrative capacity.  The school then pays for your tuition, at least enough for a full-time grad student status.  Usually you also receive a stipend (generally small, though some schools pay more) and every once in a while you receive health insurance or other benefits.
  • Scholarships and fellowships: you need to research for these opportunities at the schools where you are applying, from organizations in your field, and in scholarship directories available in libraries and bookstores.
  • The Career Center library also has some materials on financing graduate school.

Learn more from our series (video):

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Graduate School Links

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