by Annie Rose Stathes
Published March 18, 2013
Once you have made the decision to earn your graduate degree, you will need to select a graduate school. With thousands upon thousands of schools and programs to choose from, deciding whether or not to relocate for graduate school can be tough.
In many professions, the quality of your graduate program and reputation of your school is of paramount importance. If you’re living in an area near a school that doesn’t have an established reputation, or if the graduate programs offered at your school are not recognized or well-received, it might be critical to relocate for graduate school. Conduct research to determine how important it is in your field to attend a graduate school with a great reputation.
2. Networking Opportunities:
Networking with other professionals in your chosen field is important; it may be prudent to consider relocating to a graduate school in close proximity to a concentration of professionals in your field.
3. Perfect Match:
Going to the graduate school of your choice, regardless of its location, can be personally, academically, and professionally empowering. If there is a graduate school or program that is perfect for you, consider throwing caution to the wind and attending. The world can open up to you by spending two to eight years on a stimulating campus in a new and exciting town or city.
4. New Experiences:
Moving for graduate school can be an amazing way to expand your personal, academic, and professional life. You’ll meet new friends, connect with new professors, and perhaps network within new organizations in your chosen field.
It might be wise to relocate for graduate school if you:
Have the opportunity to attend a school that is of higher quality than the schools and programs in your current area
Have the opportunity to work with a professor or faculty that is renowned in your field
Find a school or program in an area offering unique opportunities to gain knowledge or experience in your field
Identify a program that is held in high regard and has a stellar reputation
Are awarded a full scholarship or stipend at a program in another city.
Determine your loved ones are truly willing to make the move with you (if you are in a living or social situation that affects others)
1. Does the location of the school offer the academic resources you’ll need to successfully complete your degree?
Many programs—especially distance and extension programs—are offered in places with scant resources. Make sure the city or town in which you plan to live offers the resources you’ll need to conduct the research necessary for your particular area of study.
2. Can you see yourself living in the city or town in which the program is offered?
In reality, you’ll spend time outside of your program and off campus. Does the city or town in which you plan on living offer activities of interest to you? Are there opportunities for working, studying, and socializing that are appealing to you?
3. Are there interesting professional possibilities beyond graduate school in the city or town to which you plan to move?
Many students plan on leaving the town or city in which they’re studying immediately after earning their degree, but develop such healthy academic and professional network it becomes difficult for them to leave. If you’re presented with meaningful opportunities, could you see yourself staying in the city or town in which you plan to study?
4. Considering your professional goals, does it make sense to have multiple schools on your resume or curriculum vitae?
While some professions might consider your attendance of multiple schools a benefit, others might view it as a fault. Does your profession or field prefer its employees have multiple degrees from one or a particular institution?
5. What are you leaving behind in your current town or city?
Some students are so excited to experience a new graduate school they forget to consider what they’re leaving behind. Do you want to break free of your current social, academic, and professional surroundings? If not, can you bring those things most important to you with you (spouses, partners, pets, etc.)?
What are the implications of leaving your current network? While there are many great reasons to relocate for graduate school, there are also many great reasons to stay right where you are.
Annie Rose Stathes holds a B.A. in International Affairs and an M.A. in Political Science, from the University of Colorado, Denver. She is currently an instructor of writing at Fort Lewis College in Durango Colorado
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