Graduate school advice, Round 1

First thing’s first. You need to decide where you want to go to grad school. In making that decision, seriously look at the faculty in the department (regardless of what department you want to go to grad school in). What you’re looking for in someone whose interests are similar to yours and what you want to learn. Why? Because that’s the person you want as an advisor, that’s the person whose research you want to be involved in. It’s best to have an idea going in, rather than wait and see what happens. So many websites recommend this and it’s something I sorely wish I did when I went to grad school!!

Ideally you should have a few grad schools that you’re applying to. But I only want to go to one, you say. Well the sad reality is, what are you going to do if you don’t get in? I didn’t get into my dream college so I totally had to scramble to apply to a whole other set of schools.

And know what you want: a master’s? A PhD? Do you think you’d get a degree and go back later? Some schools have options to do a project for the masters instead of a thesis. What that generally means is that any credit you have for your masters won’t transfer to a PhD, so you’re shutting that door. I personally don’t recommend it, unless you’re older and know that you’ll never want a PhD or any other doctorate degree. For example, a friend of mine does PR and is in her 50’s, and she only did the project for her master’s because she knew deep down she was never going back to school. In your 20’s, it’s not something you can guarantee. And it’s the same amount of work anyway!

The National Communication Association has a site that ranks different graduate schools, so check out the ones that you are interested in.

Next post will be a list of things you need to do when applying for grad school and the final post will go over surviving grad school.


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