When I started the graduate school process I decided to apply to as many schools as I could manage and see what happened. Realistically I knew that an ever increasing number of my peers have chosen to continue their education as a means of waiting out the poor job market and this rising number of applications made for stricter standards. I applied to eight schools hoping that a few would bite. I suppose the old proverb of be careful what you wish for is indeed true because at the time of writing I’ve received acceptances to seven of the eight schools to which I have applied and I still have not heard from one. If I thought the decision seemed daunting with only a few choices it’s near impossible with seven!
I applied early decision to my undergraduate institution, Kenyon College, so I never had to go through the tough decision process. From the moment I stepped onto the Hill in Gambier I knew that Kenyon was for me — there wasn’t a question. Where else has stained glass windows of the classics in their dining hall? Because of this I have very little to measure this graduate decision experience against.
With undergraduate work a great deal of the choice comes from the community, the clubs that are offered, the types of people the school attracts. With graduate schools I think it has more to do with the alumni and professors and how the program can prepare you for an ultimate career path. It all just seems so final!
Complicating the decision process are the summer programs for which I have applied in publishing. I have submitted applications to three publishing institutes (and received an acceptance from one so far!) and these programs are meant to provide participants with a leg up and many interview opportunities. If these shake out I’d like to pursue those for the time being and put graduate school on the back burner.
Though I’ve narrowed the schools down quite a bit I am still up in the air over where to go. Over the next few weekends I’ll spend time on a campus or two getting the feel for the place and hoping that it makes the decision process a little easier. Any tips for making a graduate school decision?