How to Handle Grad School Rejection | 04.14.10
With the job market in a state of disrepair over the last few years, a number of young post-grads have turned their eyes to graduate school. Companies across the nation have begun raising their expectations for new hires, and a graduate school degree is rapidly becoming a staple among them. What that means is grad school has become much more competitive, particularly for popular degree programs, such as MBAs.
Unfortunately, that means many people will not be getting into their first-choice schools. When that happens to you, what steps can you take?
First, try improving your grad school resume. Three of the major criteria looked at by graduate school admissions offices are test scores, references and essays. Fortunately, these are all easily improved. Look at where you stand with regard to the school’s minimum test score requirements. If you are hovering at the minimum, consider retaking your GRE’s or other such tests for a higher score. Show your admissions essay to a writing coach or other trusted source. Try seeking out more prestigious references.
If that doesn’t work, you could expand your choice of schools. Look, we would all love to get a law degree from Harvard or a medical degree from Yale. We would also like to play second base for the Red Sox and date Rachel McAdams. Unfortunately, those aren’t terribly likely scenarios. So what you have to do is cast a wider net. While a graduate degree from a state school won’t hold the same prestige as one from a well-known private school, it can save you a ton of money in tuition costs. Think of it this way, if you are pursuing a graduate degree to increase your salary, the difference in tuition from the two schools would be like giving yourself a raise.
If you had your heart set on a certain school, look in to taking non-degree courses. Just because you were rejected from a specific program does not necessarily mean you are rejected from the school as a whole. This is an opportunity to show professors that not only are you a capable student, but you’re so passionate about the program, you’re willing to take classes even if they may not immediately lead to a degree.
Finally, consider alternative methods of education. Yes, I’m talking about an online degree. There are many online schools to choose from and many offer the program you need. Click here for a database on online schools and online degree programs for graduate students.
ScholarshipPoints code: GRADREJECT
Image credit: Stepanov
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