Donald C. Martin
Author and Enrollment Expert
As with any type of advertising, graduate schools want to put their best foot forward. They do so by using words, phrases, and clichés that sound familiar. Don't be surprised by this. If you dig deeper, you will be able to start making some helpful comparisons. For instance, get a list of a few recent graduates from the program to which you are applying and contact them. What do these individuals have to say? (Remember, they're no longer enrolled, so they can be completely candid with you.) Did they get what they came for? What about the faculty—how well known are they? How recently have they been published? A big thing to help you get a real sense of a school is to visit the campus if at all possible. It may seem like campus tours are only for undergrads, but there's value in visiting your grad school first. What did you observe? How were you treated? How did you fit in? Overall, how did you feel? The way you feel during a campus visit is usually how you feel as a student on the campus.
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