SUNY Oneonta

Exploring Graduate School


Like job hunting, investigating and choosing and applying to graduate schools takes considerable time. Your final decision can have an impact on your future academic success and your career/life achievement later.

Some of the more important factors to investigate are program details, the general nature of the program, faculty and reputation. Some students also look at admission requirements, competitiveness within a department, on the job training opportunities and placement of graduates. Still others may be concerned about the size of the institution, geographic location, cost and the availability of financial assistance and housing.

Getting this information does not have to be difficult but will require time and effort. You may want to begin with Peterson's Annual Guide to Graduate Study and other specialized directories available in the Career Development Center's Career Library, 109 Netzer. Based on your specific criteria you can narrow down the possibilities and begin looking at college web sites.

Other sources for investigating graduate programs include faculty advisors, faculty and others who are alumni(ae) of particular schools, and program representatives who often visit college campuses to recruit students. Of course, you will want to write or call the graduate schools of your choice for detailed information and applications. However, you should do some preliminary exploration to avoid receiving information from schools that you would not consider.

If at all possible, you should visit those colleges that are most attractive. In addition to seeing physical facilities, living quarters and geographic features, you can make arrangements to talk with students, faculty, advisors and career center personnel.

When you finally make applications, you will want to consider schools in which you believe admission will be difficult, somewhat difficult and not difficult. This strategy combined with your intensive information search will allow you to make the best choice from alternatives available.