I'm Thinking About Grad School

Queen's University

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I'm Thinking About Grad School

You're off to great places - Dr. Seuss

By: Jen Evans

Should I go to grad school?

There are lots of great reasons to go to grad school. From my own experience, one reason to go is to gain a specialization in something that you are passionate about. Undergraduate degrees tend to be very broad, while graduate programs allow you to take more specific courses and/or establish an area of specialization.

Can I get into grad school with my three-year online degree?

Yes – not every program, but yes, it is possible! There are both online and on-campus graduate programs that accept three-year degrees and online degrees. UK universities are generally more likely than others to accept three-year degrees. Also, most professional schools, including Canadian law and medical schools, require only three years of undergraduate study for admissions.

Some graduate schools will accept a three-year degree only when combined with at least one year of community college.

 

Schools that are confirmed to accept three-year degrees: 

·     University of Winchester (online and on-campus grad programs) 

·     University College London (online and on-campus grad programs) 

·     Leicester University (online and on-campus grad programs) 

·     Harvard University Graduate School of Arts & Sciences (on-campus grad programs)

·     Edinburgh Napier University (online and on-campus grad programs) 

·     Simon Fraser University (online and on-campus grad programs) 

·     Memorial University of Newfoundland (online and on-campus grad programs)

 

Schools that are confirmed to accept three-year degrees when combined with one year of college:

·     The New School (online and on-campus grad programs) 

·     Tufts University (on-campus grad programs) 

 

When should I start thinking about grad school?

As early as possible. But don’t stress if you’re late to the game! I was about two years into my three-year degree before I started thinking about grad school, and it turned out fine.

How do I research programs and schools?

A simple Google search is a good place to start. Type in your program of interest, such as “online masters degree in psychology” or “Canadian masters degree in history”, and go from there.

General tips for researching schools and programs:

1. Establish your goals and work backwards: What training or credentials are required for your desired career?

2. Look at specific courses and/or specializations offered by each program to ensure they line up with your goals.

3. Consider each program within your individual circumstances: Which programs best meet your financial requirements? Is there a part-time option if full-time becomes too much? How long do you have to complete the degree?

 

 OK, I’M GOING TO GRAD SCHOOL

Admissions Requirements

Establish admissions requirements as early as possible. Some specific items to look out for include prerequisites, standardized testing, portfolios, and letters of recommendation.

If admissions requirements are unclear, you can email a school’s admissions department. Contact information will be available on each program’s website.

I’ve never met any of my professors. Can I get a letter of recommendation? 

Yes! Here are a few tips for preparing to make the ask:

1. Now that you know you want to go to grad school, make an effort to be more active in class. Post extra discussion topics and email your professors to let them know you enjoyed a reading or project.

2. Stay in touch with potential letter-writers. Let them know you are thinking about grad school and send them emails periodically updating them on your goals and progress.

3. Start asking early and expect some rejections (or, more likely, some people who straight-up don’t reply). This is not a statement about you – it’s totally normal.

Any other tips for getting a good letter of recommendation?

  1. Send the request at least 4-6 weeks prior to the submission deadline.
  2. Be prepared to answer follow-up questions regarding your program of choice, research interests, and career goals.
  3. Keep key projects in case professors would like to review them prior to writing your letter.
  4. Always, always, always send a reminder at least one week ahead of your deadline.