Check it Out – US News Graduate School Road Map
For many people, new year’s resolutions include beginning the process of applying to grad school. If you’re planning to apply later this year for admission to begin school in the fall of 2014, it’s time to begin researching programs, visiting schools, and preparing to put together the strongest application possible. US News is currently publishing to a blog series entitled the “Graduate School Road Map”, with entries on what to do each month within the year before your applications are due. Some interesting tidbits from the series include:
- 12 months before deadlines: “Make an alphabetical list of between 10 and 20 programs, regardless of what you presently know or have heard about them. Write them all down or put them on a spreadsheet.
Be very careful about believing everything you hear about a school. You have your own unique needs, expectations, and experiences—and this is your educational experience, not anyone else’s.
Start by gathering a robust list of programs, and don’t eliminate any of them at this point in the process. You want to get as much information as possible, so you can decide which options are the most appealing. Doing this 12 months ahead gives you the time you need.”
- 8 months before deadlines: “Read school newspapers… You will get firsthand information about what is going on at an institution from the student point of view, such as reactions to the appointment of new dean of students, or responses to proposed changes in the way financial aid will be awarded. You will also find information about student governance and the types of social activities taking place.”
- 7 months before deadlines: “Contact alumni… Ask the admissions office (or the alumni office) for the names of graduates who live in your area. Look for individuals who have been out of grad school for 5 to 10 years… Key questions to ask alumni [include]:
- How do you believe your graduate school experience most helped you with your career?
- How much contact have you had with your former classmates? Do you believe the alumni network is strong?”
All of the existing entries in the Road Map can be found here. New entries are still being added, so check back for more information on how to tackle the application process with confidence and efficiency!