Graduate school — what a daunting and thought provoking topic. What is graduate school? Is it the right fit for me? When and why should I apply? These are just some of the many questions undergraduate students have about this next step in their academic journey. On Tuesday, September 7, we had the privilege of hosting Rachel Van Den Broek from GVSU’s Graduate Programs and our very own Dale Austin to help us grapple with these questions.
First and foremost, the path towards graduate school is not a “one size fits all” process; rather, each route is different and unique to its applicant. Some students, for example, choose to attend graduate or professional school in order to start their career. Others attend in order to enhance their career, while others yet to change their career completely.
This leads us to the question of “How do you find the right fit?” when it comes to graduate school. If everyone’s experience is so unique and so different, how do we determine what is best for us? Rachel explained that the best way to dive deeply into this question is to do some self reflection and ask ourselves where our greatest strengths, excitements, and passions lie. From there, we can compare these personal assets to our short- and long-term career goals and ask our academic advisors (or BCCC team!!!) for guidance and advice.
Additionally, it is important to consider several institution-specific factors including track record of graduates, demographics and culture, faculty publications and research, admissions requirements, and funding when determining our “best fit” for graduate school. Comparing all of these components to our own expectations, interests, and values will greatly help narrow our search and find schools that most align with our personal needs.
We understand that figuring out all things graduate school can be confusing and intimidating, but have no fear! There is a plethora of resources available to you, and we are more than happy to help you along your journey. For more information about graduate school, check out the BCCC’s Graduate School page!