Sunday, April 25, 2010

Great! you are selected for grad school, now what?

This is one of the post I am writing for the graduate students coming aboard.
First, my congratulations for being selected. Pursuing your dream in higher studies is going to be very important. It is important not only because you get into graduate school but also because it will define your career path for rest of your life.
Graduate Schools in the U.S. 2010 (Peterson's Graduate Schools in the Us)Your question is regarding whether you wanna go the the university that offered you. If you had carefully selected and applied to the universities, you will have no problem in deciding once you get the offer letter But what if two very competent universities are calling you?
I have the following recommendations (and they apply equally to cases when one is preparing to apply for grad school):

  • Visit the University website. Especially, the departmental website. 
  • Visit Each faculty website, see the trends in the department research. Are the faculty actively involved in research?
  • See if the research field particularly interests you.
  • See if you can figure out the number of graduate student to faculty ratio. 
  • If your support comes from doing the TA duties, see if you can figure out the number of undergraduate student to graduate student ratio.
  • How about the weather? Location? Socialization?
These are the basic questions that you need before you start out your venture. They are important as it will guide your next five years (plus/minus 1) and ultimately your academic life.
Once you figure out such basic academic facts, you can then go for planning the (local) life style there. The best case scenario would be if you have any close friend living nearby. If you can contact the department secretary to learn about the housing, it will also make your life much better. Craiglist listing on apartments can also be equally illuminating.