Finding the Right Graduate Program

For many people, making the decision to earn an advanced degree is a smart move, one that can lead to more money and a more satisfying career. But deciding to go back to school is only the beginning. You now have to select graduate programs to apply to. It’s not an easy task, and you’ll soon find yourself swimming – or more accurately, drowning – in information. As you review the nuts and bolts of each program, always be asking yourself, “Is the program a good fit for me and my career goals?”

Go Over the Curriculum
Take the time to carefully review the program requirements and curriculum before applying. See if the required and elective courses really contribute to the skills you need in your career. Are there any courses that overlap well with your own background and interests? Some programs may focus more heavily on research, while others will place a stronger emphasis on practical skills. Determine if a thesis, final project, or final exam is required, and ask yourself if you’re up to that task. You don’t want to finish your coursework and fail to complete a thesis and, ultimately, earn the degree.

Review Professors’ Backgrounds
Colleges and departments often provide links to faculty websites and offer curriculum vitae for faculty members. Find out if any professors have similar interests as yours. They may be able to serve as your advisor or a member of your thesis committee. And once you graduate, they can become great references and provide networking opportunities in your field.

Explore Funding Options
Graduate school is expensive. You will be well-served to review whether financial aid or scholarships are available for the program. At Colorado State, we’ve recently introduced a 15% tuition discount for all active-duty personnel, their spouses, and veterans admitted to an online College of Engineering degree program. We also offer a 10% tuition discount for the online Master of Business Administration or Computer Information Systems master’s program.

Ask Questions and Get Answers
At Colorado State, we pride ourselves on providing excellent customer service to our students. When looking at programs, don’t be afraid to ask questions. You might want to consider questions about job placement, graduation rates, and apply-to-admission ratios for the program. And in the world of online learning, always be sure to query about the university’s accreditation.

If you’re in the midst of applying to online graduate programs, good luck! If you’re already a student in one of our programs, feel free to share any advice you have for researching graduate programs. Finding the right program is more than just a review of degree type, costs, and application requirements. Make sure the program you are applying to is a good fit for you and your ultimate career goals.