For many undergrad seniors, the question of "So what are you going to do after graduation?" is getting old. Graduation is just around the corner, and many of us don't know what to do. Some students are going out into the workforce, some are taking a year off, and others, like myself, are applying for grad school. Going to graduate school straight out of your undergrad is by no means a requirement, but I am seeing more and more graduating college students choose this route, as employers are expecting more education and experience from their new employees. For those who are looking at going back to school after school, here are some things to keep in mind.
1. Sell your strengths.
When applying to anything, you always want to sell your strengths. Don't dwell on what you can't do, focus on what you can. Share all the positive things you've been a part of in college, and put the most relevant information first. Depending on the program you are applying for, you can tweak your resume to best fit what that school and program are looking for. This will ensure you appear prepared and interested in their school.
2. Apply to a lot of places.Giphy
Don't just apply to one school. You might be set on one program, but no school is a guaranteed "in." Give yourself options. If you are really interested in getting your master's degree, you will have a better chance of getting into a program if you apply multiple places.
3. Have a backup plan.Giphy
So, maybe grad school doesn't work out. Maybe. Don't let grad school be your only post-grad option. Look at jobs you might be interested in, look for internships, look for something that you could do if you don't get in for some reason. Being stuck without a plan is a tough spot to be in.
4. Do your research.Giphy
Before you apply anywhere, do your research. Know what the school is looking for and what the program entails. Make sure you include all the required parts of the application and that it's what you really want. No surprises.
5. Be confident.Giphy
Confidence is key. You have experience. You have a bachelor's degree. You are prepared. So show it! You are qualified for the program, but they have to see that you believe in yourself and your abilities. School are looking for confident individuals. This doesn't mean you should be cocky or claim to have skills or experience that you don't really have, but be confident in the skills and experience you do have.
6. Study for the GRE.Giphy
Many schools will require you to take the GRE exam to get into their program. The GRE is similar to the SAT you took to get into your undergrad program. Not every school does this, but if the school you're applying for does, make sure you plan for it. Give yourself ample time to study and get your scores back.
7. Explore all your options.Giphy
Even if you think that this one single program is it, don't rule out other schools, or even other programs. Explore all possible options. You really do have the freedom to do whatever you want.
8. Enjoy your senior year.Giphy
Even amidst the applications and stress of getting into grad school, don't forget to enjoy your last year! College is fun and after graduation your friends will likely all be going in different directions, so take the opportunity to spend time with your friends and enjoy your last year.
9. Take a break.Giphy
Grad school is important, but you still need your sanity. If you need to take a break, take one! Step away from the applications and come back later. Don't let grad school run your life.
10. Don't stress.Giphy
Getting into grad school isn't everything. Education is great and it's important, but there are lots of things more important that earning your master's. If you don't get in or you decide to do something different, don't worry about it. You are worth so much more than your degrees or the programs you got in to.