At this stage in your academic development, you should have a very clear vision of what field you want to pursue. This is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to put together a strong application packet and for finding the right program fit for you.
As an undergraduate, everybody wants to attend an Ivy League institution or some other highly notable university. As a graduate student, your mindset should be different. When choosing a graduate school you should focus on working with the right person(s) and that person may be at an Ivy League school (nothing against the Ivy League at all). Your goal is to find the right thesis adviser that is dedicated to growing you personally and professionally into your ideal self.
During your search for the right program, you will inevitably find that many of the leaders in your field are employed at non-Ivy League or seemingly unknown universities. This could be for many reasons. When you’re good, as they are, you can go anywhere in the world and your reputation will precede you. So why not go where your family is happy, where you have the most control over a program, or where you feel like you can have the largest impact?
Back to your search…
It is my belief that you should remain as open as possible in the geographical location of your desired graduate school. The right advisor could be anywhere.
Following is a checklist of things to do to find the right graduate school for you. Feel free to copy and paste this checklist into an individual document for you to refer to as you go on your own journey.
Please share details about your specific situations in the comments section below. I look forward to reading about your experiences. Together, we can elucidate the sometimes intimidating process of graduate school!
Dr. Gabriel Burks is dedicated to increasing higher education awareness and showing aspiring scholars the power of science.