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Top 5 Ways of Paying for Graduate School

March 24, 2015 by

Help pay for grad school as a teaching or research assistant. Image curtesy stockmonkeys.com

For prospective graduate students, April 15 will be a significant day for two reasons. First, it’s “National Signing Day,” the acceptance deadline for all CGS member schools in the United States. Second, it’s tax day, when individual income tax returns are due. The fact that these two events coincide can serve as a reminder to start thinking seriously about paying for graduate school.

In addition to covering tuition, which can average as high as $37,000 per year for some professional degree programs, you’ll need to find housing. It’s also important to secure health insurance, pay for transportation, and purchase books. On top of that, you’ll need spending cash for your social life: drinks, dinners, dates, travel, conferences, etc. So, where will you find the funds for your next several years as a full-time graduate … Read full post

So You’re Going to Be a Graduate Student! Now What?

March 19, 2015 by

After months of researching which top-ranked graduate program in your field you should apply to, you rocked the GRE, secured favorable letters of recommendation, wrote a compelling personal statement, and sent in your transcripts. Congratulations, all that hard work has finally paid off: you’ve been admitted as a graduate student! So … now what?

Once you’ve finished celebrating this major accomplishment with your friends and family, you might be wondering what to do between now and April 15th—better known as National Signing Day, the acceptance deadline for all Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) graduate school members in the United States.

You can start preparing for your exciting career as a graduate student by putting the following items on your March to-do list:

Schedule a campus visit

Many programs, especially PhDs, host an admitted graduate student weekend visit in the spring. You should do your best to attend—even … Read full post

Applying to Graduate School in the Right Degree Program

March 17, 2015 by

Researching and applying to graduate school is not unlike preparing a Thanksgiving dinner: you don’t just wake up on the fourth Thursday in November and start loading your plate with turkey. Both require planning, coordination, timing, and patience. We know you just want to get to the good stuff, but trust us—finding and getting into the PhD or master’s program that’s right for you takes effort.

Applying to graduate school can be a lengthy, demanding process. Just as you can’t expect to significantly raise your GRE score by cramming the night before, you can’t cram the other components of the graduate school application process into a single weekend. You already know that you need to do your research when it comes to finding the right degree program for you. So how and when should you start conducting this research?

Are you a freshman or sophomore?

At this point, you may … Read full post

Best Graduate Schools in the Great Outdoors

March 12, 2015 by

You have permanent tan lines, your calluses are badges of honor, and your idea of leisure is a five-mile hike. Climbing, cycling, fishing—whatever the activity, you need to be outdoors. You have a taste for adventure … and you’re going to grad school.

Luckily for you, some of the best graduate schools in the country also offer the opportunity to spend two years or more in an outdoor-friendly city. Between lectures and research, you’ll want to have access to all the sun, sand, and snow your heart desires. Enjoying a little fresh air while pursuing your education will keep you happy and productive. Check out our favorite degree programs at the best graduate schools for outdoorsy types.

University of Texas at Austin Cockrell School of Engineering in Austin, Texas

  • Graduate program: Ranked among the best graduate schools for engineering (often in the top ten), the Cockrell School offers degree programs
  • Read full post

Graduate Degrees in Cities for Food Lovers

March 10, 2015 by

You’ve been known to preach about the health benefits of turmeric, umami is your flavor of choice, and your social media feeds are flooded with updates from your favorite food trucks. Forget meat and potatoes; you’re all about kimchi and craft brews. You’re a devout foodie, and you’re on your way to earning your graduate degree.

Graduate degrees in gourmet cities

Pursing a graduate degree grants you the opportunity to spend the next two or more years of your life exploring an exciting new city with a vibrant food scene (between all the research and writing, of course). Trust us, your foodie cravings aren’t going to be properly sated by faculty pizza lunches. What better way to unwind from those lengthy library sessions than with some adventurous dining? We’ve put together a tasting menu of fantastic foodie cities and graduate degree programs in which to launch your future….. Read full post

California Institute

The Music Lover’s Guide to Graduate School

March 4, 2015 by

Your headphones are permanently fixed to your ears; your party playlists are legendary, and you often feel like Pitchfork must be ripping off your blog rants. You love music more than anything … and you’re going to graduate school. Wouldn’t it be great if you could pursue your advanced degree while also living near a vibrant music scene or—even better—merge your academic dreams with your personal passion for music?

For the next two years or more, most of your free time will be devoted to research, writing, or both, but being committed to your schoolwork doesn’t mean you have to give up the things you love. Check out these graduate schools that not only provide great master’s and PhD programs that will advance your career, but will grant you access to the country’s best music scenes.

Emory University School of Medicine Physician Assistant Program in Atlanta, Georgia

The Dos and Don’ts of GRE Essays

February 26, 2015 by

My ninth grade English teacher impressed upon me that the phrase “I think” should never appear in good writing. “The reader knows you’re thinking it,” she said, “because you’re the one writing it.” At the time, I was skeptical. What if I just want to express my opinion? Wouldn’t it be misleading not to specify this, to present it as fact?

Yet now I sit, over ten years later, emphatically pounding my keyboard to bring you Ms. LaMuth’s same message: when writing your GRE essays, never say, “I think.” Never say, “In my opinion.” Never say, “I believe.” All of these phrases hurt your essay and do nothing to help it.

If you’re not convinced, I’ll convince you now with a quick exercise. Below I’ve written several statements, half of which are objective fact and half of which are my personal opinion. Try to guess which is which:

I … Read full post

Choosing the Best Graduate School for Your Future

February 24, 2015 by

“Where do you see yourself in five years?”

It’s a question that everyone fears, but eventually must face—usually in high-stress situations like job interviews, grad school essays, and maybe even bad dates.

If you prepare for this question, however, you can actually mitigate some of the anxiety it tends to produce. Facing your fear or simply addressing the question honestly with yourself—where do you see yourself in five years—can help you narrow down your list of grad school programs and apply to the best graduate school for you.

There are no shortage of graduate schools in the United States (and we’ve profiled some of them) nor questions to consider when choosing a grad school program. Here are some key factors to think about when making a decision about where you want to be in five years—especially when it comes to choosing the best graduate school for you…. Read full post

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Practice Writing Your GRE Essay

February 19, 2015 by

Recently, I took on the challenge of writing some sample GRE essays like those found on the analytical writing section to serve as models for our courses. I didn’t think this would be a particularly difficult assignment. After all, barely a week goes by in which I don’t teach students how to write at least one of the two types of essays found on the GRE in my classes, and I’ve graded hundreds of essays in my years teaching at Kaplan. So it should have been a piece of cake for me, right?

The Argument Essay

Not so fast, I learned. First, I spent an inordinate amount of time procrastinating and putting off getting started. Could I find 30 straight minutes when I could be sure I wouldn’t be interrupted? What word processing software could I use to best simulate that at the testing center? What should I use as … Read full post

Networking for Graduate School

February 17, 2015 by

Thinking about graduate school? Wondering what to study, where to go, when to prep, how to pay?

If you’re still an undergrad in college, you might not be quite ready to take your GRE exams or submit your applications, but it’s never too early to start prepping. One of the best things you can do to right now strengthen your chances for admission to top-ranked graduate programs in your field is use your career networking skills.

Career networking is not only for people who intend to jump right into a job after earning a BA or a BS; it is also for people who want to further their studies through a master’s or doctorate program. As Ryan Raver, a PhD graduate in Cellular and Molecular Pathology at UW-Madison and the author of The Dire Need to Network While in Graduate School, explains, “The real goal [of networking] … Read full post

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