Some online graduate degree programs even offer accelerated paces, where you can get credit for previous work experience, military experience, or other things you’ve done and avoid paying out the nose for credits or ‘knowledge’ that you’ve already developed outside of the academic sphere. Accelerated master’s programs can provide you with fully accredited degrees in a year or less, so if you’re in a huge rush, you may want to look into these types of programs.
However, if time isn’t of the essence, and you don’t have a great deal of commitments outside of academia, then think about attending a traditional on-campus graduate school program. These typically take 2 years to complete, and involve regularly, daily or weekly class meetings, and some would argue that they’re the best way to deliver a reliable education program.
Make your determination based on your specific needs, including financial obligations, career expectations, and family responsibilities, but don’t forget to take the length of a potential program into account when determining your ideal graduate program.
Location, Location, Location
Location really is everything, especially when you’re choosing where to attend graduate school. If you want to study somewhere different from where you currently live, make sure to include relocation costs in your budgets, look into rental rates in the area, and think about what types of career opportunities will exist for you in that location after you’ve graduated from the program.
Do you prefer to live on the coast, or do you like the dry heat of the desert? Want to be able to go backpacking, or do you like living in the city? Even though you’ve been told to make your decisions based on school reputation your entire life, you can’t forget to think about the actual environment in which you’ll have to live while pursuing your degree, and you should be thinking about what makes you happiest, and what will encourage you to do your best work.
If you don’t think it matters, or if you can’t afford or are unwilling to relocate for graduate school, then look into earning your degree online. Whether you live in the middle of an extremely rural area with little access to institutions of higher learning, or you want to attend a school on the other side of the country, attending graduate school online might just be your ticket to getting the education of your dreams.
Now that you know how to vet potential graduate schools, it’s time for you to do your part in researching the different elements that play a role in determining which school will provide the best fit for you.
Don’t forget to consider all of the above factors as you complete your search, and don’t feel forced to settle for a school that fails to live up to your aspirations and expectations.
Once you’ve made your choice, make sure that you begin applying to graduate school as early as possible and start working on figuring out how to pay for grad school tuition long before your first bills are due. Good luck!