Road Map for Graduate Study: A Guide for Prospective Graduate Students
by Dr. Donald C. Martin
Published July 2009
Should you go to graduate school? If so, to earn a degree in what? Which graduate schools should you apply to? How will you finance your graduate education? These are the questions millions of people ask themselves each year. Dr. Donald Martin, an expert in the fields of higher education administration, enrollment management, and student affairs, has helped thousands of students through the graduate school admissions process over the past 28 years. He has constructed a new book in response to all of the questions applicants have asked him, Road Map for Graduate Study: A Guide for Prospective Graduate Students. The website address is www.gradschoolroadmap.com.
The first part of the process in deciding what to do about graduate school is to ask yourself these seven questions, according to Dr. Martin:
1. Why do you want to do this?
2. Why do you want to attend graduate school now?
3. What type of academic/professional graduate degree are you seeking?
4. Is there a geographic region of your country or the world where you would like to study?
5. What type of learning/student experience are you looking for?
6. If a significant other/child is going to be impacted by your plans, how are you involving them in the search process?
7. Should you consider a full-time or part-time graduate program?
“Graduate school’s not something to take lightly,” advises Dr. Martin. “It involves a major investment: personally, intellectually, socially, emotionally, and financially. Be sure to allow yourself enough time to do your “due diligence” and get all of the information you want and need. It is wise to take about a year to do your research.”
It could be a total of two years from the time you begin thinking of graduate school until the time you begin attending classes.
“Typically, graduate schools start accepting applications just under a year before the intended start date,” he says. “In order for you to have time to thoroughly evaluate all of the information you will receive and read, you will need at least a year before applying to gather that information and thoroughly review it.”
Dr. Martin provides a 12-month checklist for those contemplating attending graduate school. He recommends two key things: “You would best be served to keep an open mind leading up to the application process in regards to which schools to apply to. Second, try not to get too caught up with the prestige factor of a graduate school. While graduating from a highly recognized program may initially open some doors for you, ultimately your success will depend on who you are and what you bring to the table, not on where you received your education.”
Photo by Mark Roland