Maybe you are in college right now, working hard to earn your bachelor’s degree, but you know you’ll need an advanced degree to get the job you really want. Or perhaps you are working at a career that isn’t really going anywhere, and you have decided to pursue a master’s degree to secure a better job and salary.
Either way, graduate school is in your future. To make the transition into graduate school as easy as possible, the following tips and words of advice may help.
You don’t want to choose the first graduate school that pops up in a Google search, and you don’t necessarily want to follow in your favorite uncle’s footsteps by applying to the program he went to 15 years ago. Instead, come up with a list of about 20 schools that offer the program you want and then start looking into the classes that they offer. You should be able to pull up the school’s course catalogue online; this will help you to see the curriculum and classes and if they appeal to you.
Once you have it narrowed down to maybe three graduate schools, it’s time to start visiting campuses in person. Just as you toured universities when you were in high school, it is important to do the same now. Check out the town around the campus to see if you like the overall vibe, and also investigate housing options and prices.
If you are planning on working when you are in school and also staying on top of other commitments, it is important to get your school-life-work balance in order. As Mental Health America notes, start by being as efficient with your time as you can. Set reasonable goals that you can achieve; this will help you to feel more in control of your day. When you are done with school and work for the day, allow yourself the luxury of unwinding and saying “no” to a bunch of activities that may be fun, but will also cause you to skimp on sleep. The sooner you can get your current responsibilities into a healthier balance, the easier the transition to graduate school will be.
While you might be tempted to take your laptop into your classes, learning to take really great notes by hand is a solid idea. Your pen will never run out of power, and as you write down what the professor is saying, your mind may retain the info better than if you are hastily tapping on your keyboard. Practice taking notes now by hand, either in your classes or when watching a cooking or other tutorial video on YouTube. As College Info Geek notes, the outline is a simple and easy way to take notes; to do this, you’ll choose four or so key points that the lecture will cover and then beneath each one you’ll write more in-depth sub notes.
While you know that there are many reasons to get an MBA or other advanced degree, you may feel overwhelmed at times. When this happens, remember that graduate school will not last forever. You won’t have to juggle all of your responsibilities for the rest of your life; once the program ends and you have your advanced degree, you can go back to focusing primarily on your career, friends and family.
Yes, there will be some long days (and nights) when you are in graduate school, but you have what it takes to get through them. By doing in-depth research on schools, both online and in-person, you will know you are in the right program for you. Then, start working on your school-life-work balance now, improve your ability to take notes by hand and remind yourself whenever you need to that all of this is temporary. If you do, you should find that graduate school is a positive and worthwhile experience that can lead to a better career.