In the education sector, we hear a lot of myths from our students applying to grad school. A lot of this popular perception just isn’t true! In this post, we’ll reveal the facts behind the three most common myths.
1. I can only attend a highly-ranked school for grad school to be worthwhile.
There are hundreds of grad schools and grad programs around the country – don’t feel like you’re boxed into the first page of rankings websites. Rankings are just one data point that you should consider when making your grad school choice. Your success isn’t defined by the school you go to; it’s defined by your performance and your ability to maximize opportunities. That means the student who attends the top school isn’t guaranteed success, just as the student who attends a lower-ranked school isn’t barred from finding it.
This isn’t to say that rankings aren’t important at all. Rankings can influence a school’s quality by impacting resources, faculty, and student body. But they shouldn’t be the end all, be all when you’re making final decisions on schools. The people you’ll meet, the connections and networks you’ll establish, the skills you’ll gain, and the knowledge you’ll walk away with – these things are what make grad school worthwhile. Don’t make life-changing decisions based solely on something as subjective as a ranking website.
2. Grad school is too expensive.
Grad school is absolutely expensive, but you shouldn’t let finances get in the way of your dream program. If you’re looking in the right places, you’ll find a lot of financial assistance. Try a scholarship website like Petersons if you’re looking for national scholarship opportunities. You can also find school-specific scholarship opportunities once you’ve committed to attending a school.
Some companies help cover or subsidize tuition costs for employees who continue to work part-time while studying. Have a conversation with your employer to see if this would be a viable option.
Lastly, don’t forget that you can bring tuition costs down by attending school part-time, on weekends, or through online courses. Oftentimes, these options will also allow you to continue working.
3. Grad school is only for eggheads – my less-than-stellar academic record won’t get me in!
Grad school isn’t just for the best and brightest – although it is for a select group of students who are intellectually capable, motivated, and committed to their academic disciplines. If your undergraduate GPA is weak, focus on your standardized admission test and let that piece of your application offset any concerns about your GPA.
You can also prove your academic capabilities through work experience, research, and coursework at a local college. Put distance between your current self and your former college self. Not every 18-year-old goes off to college recognizing that late-night parties and bashes will someday affect grad school admissions. If you’re in this boat, build up a case for your academic aptitude elsewhere.
Catherine writes for the Magoosh Blog to support future grad school students by unlocking tricks of the test prep and application trade. Catherine spends her free time checking out local farmer’s markets, reading food and lifestyle blogs, and watching Bravo. She is forever in search of the best Mexican and Italian food in any given city.