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How does one pick a grad school?

ToldoToldo But actually,WeegianRegistered User regular
edited June 2010 in Help / Advice Forum

I'm an international student about to start my senior year in college, and I've just started looking at grad school--but to be completely honest, I have no idea where to begin. I received a scholarship to come to the US, and was subsequently placed at a school, so I never had to pick my own college. I'm looking at going to grad school for journalism, and I could desperately use some financial aid...

Anyway, where do you get an overview of grad schools?

Toldo on


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    MegaMan001MegaMan001 CRNA Rochester, MNRegistered User regular
    edited June 2010
    What is your area of study? Do you intend to continue graduate school into a doctoral program and focus on research or practice or what?

    If you intend to do research or continue study within your particular academic field then it would be in your interest to do some research on the various faculty at schools and find someone who's researching something you want to contribute in.

    Of course, if you're moving across the world for school, are there any schools available near family for support?

    MegaMan001 on
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    shadydentistshadydentist Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I chose my grad schools by researching what schools had good programs in the subject that I was interested in. I can't really help you out with financial aid advice, though, since science and engineering programs do things differently.

    shadydentist on
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    TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEON Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I didn't even know there was such a thing as journalism grad school. In any case, no matter what advice you get here, you should always always always talk with your professors, because they're the ones who are already in the game and know what people/programs you should be looking at.

    TychoCelchuuu on
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    TetraNitroCubaneTetraNitroCubane The Djinnerator At the bottom of a bottleRegistered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I'm not sure how it works with journalism, but I can say with my experience that the school itself tends to be far less important than the advisor you work under. As TychoCelchuuu said, it's a good idea to talk with your current professors... But also, try to get some idea for the professors you want to work for, too, up to and including contacting them via email to show your interest. Not only are they the most knowledgeable about the graduate programs, but these are the people you must be sure you can work with for a long period of time.

    I've seen many people attending a graduate program at an excellent school in a sublime location, who positively hate every moment of it because they wound up being incompatible with their advisors. On the other hand, I've known people working in the middle of nowhere at Podunk U who are extremely happy, and get fantastic jobs out the gate, because they got on swimmingly with their professors and this facilitated research and progress.

    TetraNitroCubane on
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    PolloDiabloPolloDiablo Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I didn't even know there was such a thing as journalism grad school. In any case, no matter what advice you get here, you should always always always talk with your professors, because they're the ones who are already in the game and know what people/programs you should be looking at.

    Absolutely. Your best resource will be your professors. If you've got an advisor or a professor you particularly get along with or look up to, have a talk with them about it. They'll be able to recommend a few good places, and maybe give you a hand getting in.

    PolloDiablo on
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    RobmanRobman Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    The school makes, roughly, fuck all difference. It's the supervisor that counts. A "big name" supervisor won't even give you the time of day as a master's student though, you might be lucky to get 6 hours total face time during your master's degree.

    Robman on
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    SkyGheNeSkyGheNe Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    As others have said, you're not applying to a school so much as you are applying for who you will be working under.

    Look at who you might want to study under and then apply to whatever school they are teaching at.

    SkyGheNe on
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    LewishamLewisham Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    So, I'm a Brit in the US system:

    Yes, you are more about who rather than where in the Sciences, I don't know about journalism. I expect journalism has Masters as its terminal degree, which means it's unlikely you will find funding at the school. You'll need to try and find something like a Fulbright Scholarship to fund you instead. Otherwise, the fees will be astronomical in a public school (albeit the same astronomical price for international/domestic at private uni).

    You should talk to your current university's international office, and talk to prospective journalism schools about funding you too. If you can't get funding, it's going to be very hard going.

    All this being said, normal caveats about grad school questions apply: don't go if you don't want to be there, don't go if its not on a direct career path you want etc etc.

    Lewisham on
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    Casual EddyCasual Eddy The Astral PlaneRegistered User regular
    edited June 2010
    your professors have all been the grad school process, and your TAs are currently going through the process. Talk to as many of them as you can to get a broad look at schools. Professors are also very valuable for actually getting into a school. Their connections and recommendations are very useful - don't suck up to one, but make yourself known to a few of your professors as 'that kid who seems know what he's talking about and seems to give a shit about [the subject that I am teaching].' Professors seem to admire dedication and passion.

    Casual Eddy on
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    RichyRichy Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Eddy speaks wisely. Listen to him.

    Richy on
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    El-ZilchoEl-Zilcho Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Going to echo everyone's sentiments about using your professors/TAs as a resource for this. Ditto on finding an advisor that works for you. Also, keep in mind that grad school is where you'll hopefully focus and apply your field of study to something that will net you a career. Do you know specifically what sub-field of journalism you want to pursue (for example print, television etc)? The sooner and more specifically you figure this out, the better off you'll be, and you can find a school that has experts/a suitable program for the specific path you want to take. And networking and connections are absolutely a big part of this, and you'll want to factor that into both getting advice for schools and which school you ultimately choose. Check out where people end up who have graduated from a prospective program.

    Also, it's never too early to start thinking about standardized test preparation, which will most likely be the GRE. There are prep classes put out by places like Kaplan and Princeton Review (not cheap, we're talking $1200), but there are also lots of prep books available on the subject. The sooner you get yourself in front of a practice test, the sooner you'll know if you seriously need to pony up on that score. A lot of schools will have minimum scores or average scores of entrants (or whatever) so you'll want to know if you meet that or not. It sucks and the whole thing is a racket, but it definitely matters.

    EDIT: In terms of a rough overview, a quick Google search produced this.

    El-Zilcho on
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