We’ve helped over 6.4 million students research graduate programs last year alone! If you’re looking to pursue a graduate education, we can help you find affordable academic programs amidst thousands of accredited graduate schools. There are a lot of compelling reasons to pursue an advanced degree. A graduate education can help you gain the skills and knowledge to differentiate yourself, and it may open more opportunities for career advancement.
That said, graduate school is a big investment both in terms of time and money. It’s important to be informed when making your decision and think about your long-term goals both personally and professionally. Be sure to choose a field of study that suits your personality, as well as your academic and career goals. Additionally, determine whether an online degree or traditional campus experience would fit your lifestyle. Once you’ve made those decisions, it’s time to pick a few schools and request information about the specific programs your interested in. We’re here to guide you along the way!
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5 Most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) by Prospective Graduate Students
The decision on whether to attend grad school can be a tough one. Before making that decision, it’s crucial that you reflect on your reasons for continuing your education. It’s equally important to understand what pursuing an advanced degree involves. Below, we’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions by prospective graduate students. Our goal is to help you get a better grasp on the admissions process, the types of grad degree options available to you, costs and more.
What are the Admissions Requirements for Graduate Programs?
Every graduate school will have different requirements for their institution and your particular degree program. It’s important to request information from a school to learn more about their unique program requirements. However, in general, there are three key requirements that remain fairly consistent from school to school, including a Statement of Purpose (Personal Statement), Letters of Recommendation, and an Entrance exam. Learn More about these common requirements.
How Long will it take to Complete an Advanced Degree?
The short answer is, it depends. There are many factors that will contribute to the length of time it takes to complete a degree program. These include the type of degree program you opt for, the total number of credits required, whether you’re attending on a full-time or part-time basis, and the total number of courses you take per semester. Still have questions? We have answers.
What Types of Graduate Degrees are available?
There are many different types of programs for graduate study. Each offers specialized training for particular career goals. Degrees may be considered either academic or professional in nature. Academic Degrees, such as Master of Arts (M.A), Master of Science, (M.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy are research focused. Where as Professional Degrees stress the practical application of knowledge and skills. Examples include: business (M.B.A.), education (M.Ed., Ed.D.), engineering (M.Eng.), psychology (PsyD), nursing (DNP), and law (J.D.). Figuring out which degree type is right for you can be a bit daunting, our Degree Guidecan help you sort out the various options.
How much does Graduate School Cost?
The cost of a graduate education can vary greatly from school to school. Some schools may charge a cost per credit, while other’s have flat rate tuition. There are other factors that also come into play, like whether you’re going to a public or private university and whether you’re enrolling as an in-state or out-of-state student. The bottom line is that in order to get a clear picture of price, you’ll need to request specific information from your school of choice. However, If cost is a major concern for you, check out these Master’s programs with cost per credit under $500.
How do I Finance a Grad Program?
Grad students can fund their education in a variety of ways. Financial aid is often based on merit and/or financial need. Availability of financial aid for graduate and professional students may vary by school, program and/or eligibility. In general, graduate financial aid options could consist of a combination of scholarships and grants, fellowships, assistantships, work-study, tuition-discounts and/or student loans. Visit our Financial Aid Guide for more detailed information.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people who earned a Master's degree in 2019 earned about $27,456 more per year when compared to all workers; and people who earned a Doctorate degree in 2019 earned about $47,528 more per year when compared to all workers.
While an undergraduate degree is marked by generalist coursework, graduate coursework typically entails more highly-focused studies and research in a chosen discipline. To this end, many grad programs encourage students to narrow down their interests through a concentration. This focal area is often used to anchor independent research, internship experience, supervised practice and/or teaching. Learn more about the basics of grad school and view a comprehensive list of Graduate Majors.
Ok, you've researched your preferred degree program, and have applied to multiple schools. Now it's time to get down to the nitty gritty of your chosen school's application process. Most grad programs are looking for candidates who've excelled in their academic and professional lives, and who now want to become experts in a given field. It’s not enough to just be qualified to enroll in graduate studies; you have to stand out in order to be admitted, and ultimately to thrive, at the grad level. Our Student Guide offers tons of articles to help you set yourself apart.
Once you get passed the admissions process, you'll need to figure out how you are going to finance your higher education degree, so be sure to check out our Financial Aid Guide as well.
It is possible you may be required to take part in a one on one or group interview. Show 'em what a stellar candidate you are by preparing your answers to some of the more commonly asked questions by colleges.
What a tri-fecta! Earn your degree, get paid and get valuable research experience! Check out our list of portable and institutional fellowships.
Top 4 Reasons Graduate Students Seek An Advanced Degree
#1 Career Change
According to a recent Aslanian Market Research report, more than 80% of respondents cited a career change as the #1 reason for continuing education. The reality is, when looking for a new job, past experience may not be relevant enough to switch careers without going back to school.
Fortunately, most advanced academic programs do not require an applicant to have majored in the same content area, which makes it easier for someone to pursue graduate studies in a new field as long as they at least hold a bachelor's degree.
#2 Professional Development
While a profession may not require an advanced degree, it may be helpful to advance or to distinguish yourself from the pack.
Some business school students choose to specialize in certain areas such as a Master of Accountancy (MAcc) or a Masters of Taxation (MTax), or an MS in Strategic Human Resource Management (MSSHRM) just to name a few.
While a four-year bachelor’s degree used to be enough to reach most career goals, in today’s world a graduate degree may set you apart.
#3 Potential Salary Increase
Naturally advancing in a career could lead to higher pay, however, the attainment of a graduate degree also has the potential to increase earning potential in certain fields.
For example, in the education field, the degree you've earned, combined with previous work experience, could determine your pay scale.
If you are considering graduate school for this reason, weigh the costs of education (including the loss of earnings if you go to school full time) with your potential salary after graduation.
#4 Required For a Position
It is common understanding that practice-based doctorates are required for highly regarded careers, like Medicine (MD) or Law (JD).
But, it is also true for other professions as well! It is quite typical that a teacher can't become an administrator without earning a Supervisors Certificate or a MA in Education Leadership.[iv]
And it doesn't stop there, the same can be true in other fields, like Physical Therapy, Counseling, Psychology, Occupational Therapy, and the Social Sciences.
Top 5 Barriers Students Face When Looking For A Graduate School
Finding the right graduate school is not easy for everyone. Life happens, and for various reasons some folks may face challenges they think may prevent them from becoming a graduate student. We have extensively researched these biggest pain points and are happy to say, you do have options! Here is our list of top 5 resolutions to your biggest issues.
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The sources for school statistics and data is the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System unless otherwise noted.
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This is an offer for educational opportunities that may lead to employment and not an offer for nor a guarantee of employment. Students should consult with a representative from the school they select to learn more about career opportunities in that field. Program outcomes vary according to each institution’s specific program curriculum. Specific School Disclosures. Financial aid may be available to those who qualify. The information on this page is for informational and research purposes only and is not an assurance of financial aid.