Guest Blog |5 Tips for Going Back to Grad School
There’s nothing like the crispness in the air and leaves crunching underfoot to make you nostalgic for freshly sharpened pencils and new textbooks. Don’t let the kids have all the fun; maybe it’s time for you to consider going back to school. Applying for graduate school can be daunting, particularly when you are working full-time. As the Admissions Manager for the part-time MBA and MSM-Healthcare programs at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University, let me provide you with some tips to help make applying not only easy, but exciting!
- Do your research
Pour yourself a cup of coffee, fire up your laptop and consider some of the following questions: “Do I want to continue working while enrolled in school?” (If so, you might want to narrow your search to online and part-time programs). “Do I want to refine my understanding of a particular subject area?” (If so, you might want to pursue a specialized master’s program, like the MSM-Finance or MSM-Business Analytics). Consider class size and your personal goals upon graduating to help shape your search.
- Schedule meetings with admissions reps
In-person conversations can help you gain a better understanding of the values, culture and program structure of the schools you’ve researched. You should leave your meetings with clarity regarding both program options and application processes. Autumn is the perfect time to arrange these meetings; it gives you plenty of time to process the information you received and decide where you would like to apply.
- Shadow a class
Sitting in on a class is a wonderful way to experience the academic environment firsthand. You will be able to connect with current students to learn more about their experience in the program while also observing the teaching style of the faculty.
Once you begin to feel comfortable with your options, initiate the application process! Most universities have moved their applications to an online format, so you may log in and access your application as many times as you would like before submitting. Applications vary by school, so take a close look at requirements, such as prerequisite courses and entrance examinations. If letters of recommendation are required, begin to consider whom you would like to ask to complete a letter on your behalf. Your recommenders should be professional references who can speak to your character and aptitude.
- Keep in touch
After you have completed your application, don’t be afraid to reach out to your admissions representatives. Along with checking in on the status of your application, you should try to attend any recruitment events the school is hosting. These events are a great opportunity for an additional touch point with members of the admissions committee as well as to connect with other prospective students (and often current students and faculty).
Graduate school is a great opportunity to develop yourself professionally and academically, while also building your network in Cleveland. This is an exciting time, and admissions representatives are here to help!
Rebecca Orenstein, admissions manager at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University