4 Ways Students Can Decide If a Graduate Degree Fits Their Needs

Pursuing a graduate degree increases your marketability in a highly competitive job market, deepens your academic experience, and broadens your network. Choosing a graduate program, however, is a long and complex process. Obvious considerations include location, admissions requirements, and how prestigious the program is. But in focusing on these factors, many students fail to delve deeper and ask more comprehensive questions. While easy to overlook, would-be graduate students should take the following considerations into account before choosing a program.


Potential Careers & Alumni

Whether you plan to stay in academia or choose a “regular” career, make sure that the program has successful graduates in your field of study. If possible, speak to graduates in person to hear about their experiences in school and after. Gauge their level of involvement, dedication, and what they have accomplished post-graduation. The more you learn from real people, the more educated your decision will be.

Potential Mentors

One of your biggest assets as a grad student is your mentor. Before choosing a program, reach out to professors at potential schools to determine if they professors can and are willing to mentor you. Study their research, learn about the processes and methods they use, and ask yourself if you want to follow the same path. There is no right or wrong answer in this case, but it is imperative to choose wisely.


Choose a grad school that truly fits your needs, interests, and schedule. There are many different master’s degrees available, including Master of Arts and Master of Science degrees. Further consider that online master’s programs, such as a Master of Arts in Public Administration, provide flexibility and allow you to keep your day job to practice new skills immediately after learning them. Countless options exist, it is up to you to find the flexible one that fits your priorities.


Grad school should be a time of growth, and a challenge is the best way to grow. Choose a program that you know will challenge you—if you have the right mentors, the program fits your life and goals and has produced many successful graduates, you will come out much stronger and better-equipped than you started.

Finding a graduate school that offers exactly what you need is not impossible to find. Whether your field is technology or fine arts, considering these four factors before choosing a program will result in increased personal growth, academic advancement, and a successful post-graduation career.


Anica is a professional content and copywriter who graduated from the University of San Francisco. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she's used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here


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