You have been accepted to the graduate school program of your choice! You future looks bright! But what will it take to successfully complete your master’s degree? Let us break this down into seven important steps. But heading back to school can be a long-term commitment, and often entails months and months of effort. There are some things you can do to make your time in school more worthwhile, rewarding, and expedited.
Going back to grad school is an important decision which would impact both your professional and personal life. In most cases it is a positive change. In all cases however, it is important to plan ahead and think about how the idea of going back to school will enhance your professional growth. Many students choose to go back to school after they have worked for a few years.
In most cases this is helpful since graduate school is all about developing both our professional skills as well as your critical thinking skills. To learn more about graduate school programs that include the masters, doctoral degrees including the PhD program, professional degree programs as well as graduate certificate programs, visit the online graduate school programs website as well as read up on the success in grad school tips below.
Graduate School – Seven Steps to Graduating With Your Graduate Degree
Step 1 – Develop your program of study early. In most masters degree programs you need about 36 hours or more to complete your degree. Clarify this information with your department or graduate coordinator. Most graduate schools also have a program of study form for you to complete, to guide you in the program. Each semester or quarter, be sure to enroll in the minimum number of course. If you don’t, some graduate school programs might think you have dropped out of the course. Also, be sure to review future courses and when they are offered so that you don’t miss out when they are offered.
Step 2 - Take and finish your courses. However, plan your course load carefully and do not take on too much. Contact your adviser as they are the ones who are there to help you successfully complete your degree. It is a good idea to make an appointment with them at least one each semester to discuss your milestones and any difficulties that you might have in the program.
Step 3 – Choose a committee (wisely) if it your program requires a thesis, or a master’s research project. The committee will guide you in completing your program successfully.
Step 4 – Do research on the career you want join. As you go through the program, learn about what it takes to succeed in that field. For example if you are a nursing student, learn more about the latest technologies being used in healthcare. This way when you join the field, you will already have a good idea on what is current. You can learn these skills through your coursework, internship, and also your own extra reading and Internet searches.
Step 5 – Prepare your thesis. If your department requires you to write a thesis, work with your advisor or committee do develop this. This can be challenging and time consuming but if done well you will be proud of your accomplishments. If you are not required to do a thesis, find out if a comprehensive exam or portfolio is required instead. Some program do give you choices, so find out what they are.
Step 6 – Start looking at job postings. Prepare your portfolio, which can include your resume, artifacts, credentials and other examples that showcase your best self. It is never to early to start looking. Keep a list of potential jobs and ensure that you are receiving the skills and knowledge from your program. Don’t wait till after graduation to start applying for jobs. After all, that’s why you started the master’s degree, right?
Step 7 – Apply for graduation. At some point during your program of study, apply for graduation. Be sure to check the deadlines. Some come up very early in the program, and you certainly do not want to miss that.
Some options to consider for success in grad school are accelerated and online degree programs options that are especially important for adults with families and jobs, non-traditional scheduling, possibility of transferring credits. Although completing your degree quickly may be important to you, be sure to check the quality of the school you are planning to attend. Be sure it is accredited. At the end of the journey, there soon will be a light at the end of the tunnel.
Wishing you success in grad school!