Things to Consider When Looking at Graduate Schools

  • When looking for a graduate program it is important to know the facts and find the institution that best fits your needs, lifestyle, and expectations.
  • Find out what type of program interests you the most. Do you want to have a higher focus on student development, administration, counseling, public policy, community college, multiculturalism?  Whatever it is, make sure your program offers what you’re looking for.
  • What type of institution would you like to attend? Public, private, urban, rural, suburban? Do you want to live on campus or do you want to commute to classes?
  • Is there a particular geographic location that you want to study in?  What is the weather like there, are you willing to move away from your family and friends?
  • Does the institution offer assistantships, practicum work, research opportunities, publication opportunities? What do they offer that will help you improve your professional work skills?
  • How will you pay for your education?  Many student affairs graduate programs offer a lot offinancial assistance – what does your institution offer? Do they offer loans, grants, scholarships, assistantships, work study?
  • What are the program’s academic requirements? Is a thesis required to graduate, if so are you willing to put in all of the work necessary?  What about comprehensive exams, internships, research requirements and dissertations?
  • What are your personal and professional career goals? Do you want to work in a specific area of student affairs or are you still researching your options?  Does the institution have student affairs departments in those areas – if you want to be a Greek life advisor and your institution doesn’t have Greek life you won’t get much practical experience in that area.
  • What is the general atmosphere of the program?  Is there a cohort system in place or are classmates distant?  This may seem like a small component but is very important to consider.

Information and text from NASPA Grad Programs