Considering Graduate School > Factors to consider when choosing a graduate school

Once you've made the decision to attend graduate or professional school, you'll need to figure out which institutions and programs are best suited to you. It's also important to understand how the application process works. In choosing where to apply and ultimately which graduate program to enter, there are many factors to consider. You'll need to think about which ones matter most to you, and tailor your investigation accordingly.For instance:

Reputation - is the program/institution nationally recognized? Regionally? Locally? (Ask faculty members; check for ranking information in the Career Advising and Fieldwork Center.)

Faculty research specialties - Are faculty members conducting research in areas of interest to you?(ask them directly; read their publications.)

Faculty prominence - Are professors in the program recognized leaders in their field? Are they widely published? (Ask New Paltz faculty; scan appropriate journals; request faculty biographies or publication lists.)

Method of study - Does the program emphasize theory? Practice? Research? A combination? (Read and compare program literature; talk with faculty and current students or graduates.)

Flexibility - How much of the program can be tailored to fit your interests? What courses are offered outside the department which would enhance your core curriculum? (Ask faculty members; peruse university catalog.)

Geographic location - Do you want to live in this area for the time it will take to complete your degree? (Talk to others who live there - current students are a good resource.)

Financial Assistance - How expensive is the school? What types of financial aid are available and how much could you expect to receive? (Ask faculty members of graduate admissions office about the likelihood of receiving difference types of aid; apply for non-university grants, fellowships, and loans.)

Help with post-graduate employment - Where do graduates of the program typically find work? How much assistance is offered to job seekers? (Talk to graduates of the program; gather information from the institution's career center.)

Academic support - How extensive is the library collection, how up-to-date is the computer or lab equipment? (Visit the facilities; talk to faculty members.)

Campus/community involvement - Are there opportunities for involvement and/or leadership outside the program? (Request information about the community at large; talk to others in the program.)