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When deciding on a graduate school, think back to when you were in college. What did you like/not like about your school? What, if anything, did you wish you knew prior to attending that college? Is the class size important to you? If one college is more expensive than another, is it possible that the more expensive college offers more financial assistance? (Private institutions typically have more free money for students than public and overall, there is typically more merit-based aid than financial-need based aid.)

Make inquiries to the colleges you are considering via phone/email/in-person visit if possible. Are they helpful? Personable? Willing to take the time to address your questions?

Speak with current students/graduates of the program of your choice. Find out their opinion of the program. Did they have helpful mentors along the way? Did they receive career guidance prior to graduation? Alumni are an excellent resource of information; the graduate program and/or Career Center should have a list of alumni who are willing to assist with questions.

Read through the curriculum. Do the courses sound appealing to you? Did your undergraduate program prepare you better for one college over another? Will you need to take additional undergraduate courses prior to being considered for acceptance? How many credits are required for the graduate degree? Is there a thesis required or is there an option? What are the pros and cons of completing a thesis? Are there opportunities to obtain practical experiences prior to graduation which will increase your chances of employment?

Find out if Graduate/Teaching Assistantships are available in your program and the deadlines to apply to them. These opportunities allow you to work closely with professors/researchers/students in the field and many schools pay you a stipend as well as your tuition when you serve as a GA/TA for them.

"Follow" the colleges and related programs on LinkedIn to get the latest and greatest information which will help with decision making as well as conversations during interviews. Consider joining a professional association to find out more about your field of interest as well as opportunities for networking, jobs and additional education and training. The OOH link has a wealth of information about careers and provides names of professional associations related to each.

Included on this page are resources you may find helpful along your academic and career journey. To prevent feeling overwhelmed by all that is here and involved in college selection and preparation, make a short list of what needs to be completed in the near future, then put that list in a calendar or planner. Break your list down into manageable tasks and reward yourself each time you complete one.


For example, this week browse through the websites on this page and make note of any you would like to take more time reviewing. Be sure to check out the GRE website to find out when tests will be given. Look at the free test prep materials and fill in dates on your planner for when you will view the material on each test section focusing on one section at a time. Find out the application deadlines for schools of your choice and mark them down.


Week 2: Find out the contact information for the different colleges and offices in which you need information. Are there virtual tours/program information sessions coming up or prerecorded? Add to your planner when you will watch them (they are usually less than an hour). 

Week 3: Start making calls and sending emails inquiring about anything that is important to you.

Week 4 & beyond: Continue breaking down the tasks and completing them little by little. Take breaks as needed and be proud of each accomplishment.

Final thought: Schools are planning for a variety of learning formats while they wait for decisions and approvals by the CDC, NY State and SUNY. During this time, it is recommended to continue planning and applying to programs of your choice. If deadlines have passed for the fall, consider taking one class as a non-matriculated student to get a taste for the school and program. It is anticipated that fall 2021 programs will be more competitive due to fall 2020 students delaying education by a year for a variety of reasons including not being interested in taking courses online should that format be decided.


Wishing you all the very best as you achieve your goals!

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