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How to Best Prepare For Your Graduate Education Program

Monday, June 24, 2019

Before your classes start, there are a few things you can do to prepare. Discover the 12 things you should be checking off before your start your graduate education.

Getting accepted to a graduate education program is something to be celebrated. Once you get that acceptance letter you are likely eager to sign up for classes, meet your fellow students, and gain the skills you need to land your dream job.

If you are wondering what it takes to get ready for a master’s degree program, we have compiled a checklist to help you get prepared to start your MBA or master’s degree program:

  1. Let Your Employer Know
    Whether you applied for a part-time or a full-time program, it is important to let your employer know. This will also give you the opportunity to start the discussion of what your career path could look like at your current company after you complete the program.
  2. Tell Your Loved Ones
    Another group that you need to tell are your loved ones. As you know, attending school is a responsibility that requires a significant devotion of time and energy. You should set clear expectations of your free time to try to best mitigate any future issues.
  3. Read Regularly 
    Graduate students read hundreds of pages of text before classes to prepare for discussions. Start to warm up your brain and eyes to the task by reading consistently and often before classes begin.
  4. Attend Meet and Greets 
    Most universities offer opportunities to meet and mingle with fellow admitted students before classes start. These connections may prove helpful to you in your studies and into your career.
  5. Start Looking into Companies
    You may feel like it is too early to start researching companies that you would like to work for, but you will thank yourself later. Start your research before classes start. Even better, arrange an appointment with one of the career advisors in the Krannert Professional Development Center (KPDC).
  6. School Career Fairs
    Look for upcoming job fairs at your school. When you already have an idea of which companies you want to focus on and have your calendar marked far in advance, it makes the process of attending a career fair in the middle of the semester less stressful.
  7. Update Your Resume and LinkedIn
    In the same vein, update your resume and LinkedIn profile. The first will be helpful at job fairs and the second will get the news out to your professional network.
  8. Apply for Financial Aid
    Apply for federal aid and start researching aid opportunities available at your university and school. Each school has its own graduate assistantships and financial assistance opportunities. Get an early start on this task and be mindful of deadlines.
  9. Determine a Monthly Budget 
    Going back to school requires extra expenses and, if you decide to pursue a full-time program, you will likely have to quit your job. Take the time to determine a budget for each month to eliminate financial-related stress.
  10. Learn Your Way Around
    Get familiar with the campus, learn the ins and outs of the bus system, and (if need be) purchase a parking pass.
  11. Get Supplies
    It is time for back to school shopping. Remember to pick up a laptop, backpack, padfolio, pens, and notebooks.
  12. Enroll in Your Courses
    Put the date on your calendar for when you can enroll in your courses and look at your class options (if applicable). Often, schools will have new student orientations where they walk you through this process.

What does it take to get a master’s degree? A lot of work and organization. Fortunately, with a little planning, you can mitigate some stress and set yourself up for success. If you are searching for the right graduate education program for you, view our Specialized Master’s degree programs