Planning for Graduate School

Thinking about graduate school? The SU Student Guide to Preparing for Graduate School suggests a number of questions to ask yourself before deciding to continue your education:

  • What do I want to accomplish in my lifetime?
  • What are my long-range and short-range career goals?
  • Is graduate study necessary for me to achieve these goals?
  • Do I have the interest and abilities to be successful in a graduate program?
  • What type of value if any do I place on attaining a graduate degree?
  • Am I mentally and physically prepared to undertake such a long-term academic commitment?
  • At the present time do I have other needs that conflict with pursuing a graduate degree?
  • Do I have enough information about this career field to determine if I want to make a long term commitment of pursuing a graduate degree?
  • Can I realistically invest the time and money required to pursue another academic degree?

If you think you may be interested in graduate school start gathering information about graduate programs and their admissions requirements. Ideally you should decide by the end of your junior year to seek admission so that you will have ample time during senior year to complete the application process.

Selecting a program

Some things to consider when selecting a graduate program:

  • Degrees offered
  • Quality of faculty
  • Geographic location
  • Admission requirements
  • Financial aid

The ASA's Guide to Graduate Departments available in the Sociology Department office (FH 266) has information on over 200 graduate programs. One of the appendices is an "Index of Special Programs which lists the schools specializing in particular areas of sociology.

In general, the better programs are more competitive. You will probably want to apply to several schools, including at least one or two that are less exclusive.