Graduate School Defined
Graduate school offers individuals (who have at least a Bachelor’s degree) a more concentrated course of study and focuses on a specific discipline
Generally, there will not be many elective courses and students will often be expected to produce original research in the form of a thesis or dissertation
Rigorous coursework and evaluation of your work by professors and peers should be expected
Smaller class sizes with more student interaction and class discussion
Gaining real world work experience is often required through internships or practicum
Should I Go Now or Later?
There is no right answer! You should consider:
How heavily does the graduate program you are interested in weigh related work experience in evaluating applicants? For example, do they ask you to submit a resume or CV?
How highly do employers in your field value experience and how much experience do they experience do they expect someone with a graduate degree to have?
In your field, is a grad degree-level position considered entry level, or advanced?
Is a grad degree required to do the job you want?
In fields where it is, such as law or medicine, students are more likely to go right away, and related experience is typically less important. In fields where it is not, like business, students tend to go later, and experience is more important.
If you do choose to go right away, make sure you are building your resume with relevant experience at the same time. This can be done through graduate or research assistantships, internships, practicum hours, volunteer work, and jobs in your field.
Deciding Where to Apply
Since admission can be competitive, you want to select at least several schools to apply to. You should consider:
Choosing a Graduate School
UCCS Graduate Programs: http://www.uccs.edu/gradschl
Graduate School Rankings
The publisher of U.S. News and World Report has produced one of the most outstanding guides to educational information on the Web. Dedicated sections of this site focus on college, community college, graduate school, e-learning, and financial aid; and each is filled with quality news, information, and resources. USNews.com also lists the annual rankings of colleges and graduate schools.
Applying to Graduate School
GRE: The standardized test used by most graduate programs. Measures your overall scholastic ability, specifically verbal and quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and analytical writing skills.
GMAT: Test used by business schools as a tool to decide whom they are going to let into their MBA program
MAT: Made up of analogies - the test is designed to test analytical reasoning & content knowledge
LSAT: Required by most law schools. Tests reading comprehension, logical reasoning, analytical reasoning, experimental skills, & essay writing.
MCAT: Required for most medical schools. Includes physical sciences, verbal reasoning, writing & biological sciences
Strategies to Lower Costs
Study at a public university in a state where you are a legal resident
Look for jobs that have tuition reimbursement benefits for their employees
Search for scholarships and grants ASAP
Take your education tax credit
Work as much as possible
Don’t forget...There are more opportunities for grants and scholarships at the undergraduate level, so take advantage of those and borrow as little as possible while pursuing your bachelor’s degree.