What to Look For in a Graduate Program


Today's college graduates are facing a difficult job market, one that is flooded with unemployed professionals but few job openings. As a result, many college juniors, seniors and even recent graduates are considering the pursuit of an advanced degree. When researching different graduate programs, prospective applicants should take the following under consideration.

* Admission standards. Applicants should be looking for schools with tough admissions standards. Schools with low admissions standards won't necessarily provide a degree that's valued by prospective employers. Since many students will be pursuing an advanced degree in the hopes it will help them stand out in a crowded pool of applicants, that advanced degree should be one that has substantial value and not one that was easy to pursue and obtain.

* Assistance. A good graduate program will boast a career development program that helps place graduates in desirable careers. Ask about past graduates of the program, and where they are currently working and what they're earning.

* Faculty. When researching graduate programs, look for one whose faculty are well known in your desired field. Most school Web sites list faculty biographies. A strong faculty is one that has a history of scholarly publications, acclaim among colleagues and professional experience not just in academia, but in the desired field as well. A proven and respected faculty can be a great way for students to make connections in the field.


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