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There are a lot of factors to take in when figuring out the right grad school for you. While a certain program might seem cool because it’s in your dream city or the cost is pretty cheap, after some comparison with other schools or a reanalysis of your career goals — you might find that it’s not the best choice for you. Here’s a list of a few factors to keep in mind when weighing your top choices against each other:

Consideration One: Is it a good program?

Graduate school is a huge investment of your time and money. So, you’ll want to choose a school that’ll best serve your career goals. Do some research over where alumni from the program usually end up. Try to find testimonies from former or current students from the program you want to go to. Also, take a look at the school’s ability to connect students with jobs. If you’re going into a research-based program, try to see if the school is known for any groundbreaking projects from their students or faculty.

Consideration Two: Could this program help you pay for your degree?

Unfortunately, money is important to function in society. Graduate school is a good way to increase your potential income. However, graduate school (get this) will cost a lot of money, so it is important to look for ways to finance your degree. Some specific graduate schools offer fellowships and scholarships. So, compare each school’s finance options in your decision process. Also, consider the amount of money a degree from this school could get you after graduation.

Consideration Three: We are in a pandemic.

It does not look like the coronavirus pandemic will end anytime soon in America. This stinks, as it means your graduate school experience is going to look a lot different from a typical semester. Research how your top graduate school picks are handling the pandemic. Do they provide free testing? Grade accommodations? You’ll want to attend a school that you know values your health and safety as well as your education

Consideration Four: How does the program offer their classes?

There’s a lot of variation in the ways graduate classes are offered. Whether it’s mainly online classes because of the pandemic or possibly a lot of in-person lab work, it’s important to consider which format of class delivery works best for your career and degree path.

If you have to keep up other commitments while in grad school make sure your top picks either offer A) classes that work with your schedule or B) plenty of academic support systems to help you handle your workload.

Bonus Consideration: Did somebody dare you to go?

This one is tough because it depends on the level of dare you are given. It is entirely possible to smooth talk your way out of a dare or double dare. Even a double-dog dare or a triple dare can be weaseled out of if you are persistent enough. However, if someone you know triple dog dares you to go to a certain graduate school you have to go. I do not make the rules and find no joy in reporting them.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

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