The process of applying to a graduate program can be a tumultuous roller coaster ride for many students. Filled with all sorts of uncertainties here are some questions you should ask yourself to help you choose the right program:
1. What are your career goals? Do you want to be a professor, administrator, psychologist, or coach; what do you want to be? This is the first step in determining which program is right for you or if a terminal degree is necessary.
2. What are the different types of terminal degree programs? Example Ph.D., Ed.D, Psy.D., and, DBA just to name a few. Do you know which program is best suited for your particular career interest?
3. Do you want to do research? Do you know how to do research? Is the research needed in your particular career field? If research is not something you are looking to do, you may want to consider a program that offers a more practical or clinical approach.
4. Brick and Mortar or Online Institution? This question is very important depending on your career interest. For someone with hopes of being in the classroom most research institutions prefer to hire someone with a terminal degree from a reputable brick and mortar institution.
5. Are you willing to commute? Being a commuter student comes with a great deal of sacrifice. You must think about your family and work obligations, financial constraints, and sleep! Commuting can be very draining, not only financially but mentally, physically, and emotionally.
6. How much time are you willing to devote to school? The reality of graduate school is; life goes on even while you are in school. A program may take 3 years and 5 years.
7. What is more important to you a reputable program or the status of the University? Many people make selections based on name only not realizing that certain programs at prestigious Universities may not align with your overall goals, or may not be proven programs with a successful track record. Everything that glitters isn’t gold!
Personally, I completed an executive Ph.D. program that was 2 years. It required a lot of hard work and research. I worked full time, went to school full time, and commuted to Mississippi from Alabama. It was very stressful but it was a small sacrifice that I was willing to make for a lifetime of reward.
Now that you have the questions, dig deep to answer them. Make a plan, organize your thoughts, do your research, and select the best program for your future. Oh and always start looking with the end in mind!