Find your Graduate School


I want to attend graduate school, but where should I go?

            Your professors have some good information for you. After deciding which field you want to study, talking to the professors who are in this filed is a good start. These professors can not only give you ideas about their graduate school and the program, but also may help you network with people in that program. Even though they are not alumni of a certain program, they may have connections that can provide you with related and useful information.

Attending a graduate school fair is also a good option. It will be great if you can go visit your dream school directly. However, scheduling and fees may become problems. Big universities such as University of Texas, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech host graduate school fairs open to the public annually. In a graduate fair, you will be able to talk to representatives of different graduate schools, and perhaps get lucky enough to get an application fee waiver. Be open minded when you go to this event. Most of time, there is only general admission or one specific department presenting at the fair. Be prepared that you may not talk to your ideal program recruiter directly, and even sometimes the general admission has less information about one specific program than you do. You can still take advantage of this event, such as learning the specific things one university may prioritize, handing out your resume, and perhaps getting directly introduced to department administrators.    

It is easy to find the best program, but it is hard to find the one that fits you the best. Based on your preferences, online searching is a great resource. You can use it to get the most information you want about the university, the program, and the faculty and their research interests.

There is a 3-3-3 rule you could follow while choosing the programs you want to apply. Finding three “reach” schools, three “match” schools, and three “safety” schools will increase your chances of being accepted to a graduate program. It sounds easy; however, how good are you? What position are you compared with other applicants? Is your “safety” school really a guarantee?

Some graduate school programs set a minimum GPA, GRE, or other test scores to help students identify the chances of getting in. They may also post their data of their previous accepted students. You could also send direct emails to a program and ask if they can provide the average test scores of students from previous years. There are rare programs allowing students to request for a preliminary estimate of their chances of admission by sending some basic materials without submitting an official application.

Checking the admission Q&A, attending the admission webinar, and getting direct contact with the professors who have the same research interests as you, are all good ways to help you to decide if a program will fit you. Overall, it is all about you. You are looking for a place you can learn and grow happily. Don’t be afraid to sate how you see yourself fitting well in a given program in your personal statement. Spread your excitement and get in!