Preparing for Graduate School

There are a number of programs available for students interested in pursuing graduate study. These programs help students explore fields of study, fund undergraduate research, and support student success.

Visit the following web sites to find out if these programs are active on your campus:

Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program

Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship

Finding the Right Program

Finding the right graduate program for you is vital. Graduate education is a significant commitment of time, money and effort, and your graduate degree will dictate the direction of your career. The following websites can help you explore graduate education by degree type, location, type of institution, and more:

Gradschools.com

Princeton Review

Peterson’s

PhDs.org

Financing Graduate Education

Unlike undergraduate education, there is very little “free money” to help with most graduate and professional programs. Because a graduate degree increases your earning potential by making you a more specialized, marketable employee, most graduate students take on significant debt to finance their education. Following are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Taking a student loan is an investment in you. How much will a graduate degree raise your earning potential? Borrowing $40,000 to get an MBA is a better investment than borrowing the same amount to get a degree in education or social work.
  • You may be able to finance your room and board by taking a residential life position on campus. Being a resident assistant as an undergraduate student is great training for this work.
  • Consider getting a full-time job that will provide tuition remission, and enroll in classes part-time. This will enable you to get practical experience to supplement what you learn in the classroom.
  • There are some student loan forgiveness programs for teachers, nonprofit and government employees, and others. Learn more about Student Loans.
  • PhD study is often funded with research grant dollars. Most PhD students have their education fully funded: tuition, fees, and a living stipend. A PhD is an investment and commitment of time that is right for only a small fraction of students.

Sources for more information about financing graduate education include:

US News and World Report: Paying for Graduate School

Graduate Guide: Financing Graduate Study