I’m in! Now What?: Deciding on the Right Graduate School

Congratulations to the newly admitted students of HGSE! I remember all too well the moment I learned of my acceptance to my program and the overwhelming excitement I felt at the prospect of joining such a vibrant community. I also recall the early weeks of spring as a time of intense reflection as I carefully weighed my offers before making my final decision on which school to attend.

Which graduate program is the best fit for me? What do current students really think of their program/school? Can I afford the tuition and living expenses? Will I be supported as a student of color? How will this program prepare me for future positions in my field? If you find yourself asking similar questions, then I hope you find the following tips useful in your decision-making! 

1) Review the program and courses that will be offered next year. Is there a course that you really want to take but will not be offered next year? Is a practicum requirement important for you? Take some time to peruse each program’s courses especially for courses you plan on taking. For instance, I was really interested in taking courses by specific faculty and on topics of access, race, and college persistence.

2) Talk to current students in the program. HGSE pairs you with an email buddy – use them as a resource to tap into real student perspectives. I was deciding between two offers and my email buddy took the time to email and offer genuine advice.

3) Reach out to the financial aid office to better understand your financial aid package. I spoke with a financial aid officer to find out about loans and potential scholarships to which to apply as well as resources for living within a graduate student budget. Harvard also holds sessions on budgeting, financial literacy, and loans during the admitted student weekend.

Jessica Acosta is Master’s in Education candidate in the Higher Education Program.  Deeply passionate about issues of race, equity, and college access, Jessica aims to gain knowledge and tools to promote a deeper understanding of multicultural issues and to help students of color strive towards academic success in college and beyond.

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