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Making Your List of Graduate Schools

Make a List of 'Schools of Interest'

Finding the right graduate program and school is an important task, and one that takes time. There are many variables to consider and resources to browse. Take a look at the list below for our suggestions for places to look for schools.

Faculty & Staff

Make a point to develop a relationship with people at Gettysburg College who work in your area of interest. If you are thinking about Student Affairs graduate programs, get to know people who work in Residence Life, Student Activities, Career Development, and other offices within College Life. Similarly, if you are a physics student and want to pursue a program in that area; spend time with your faculty and find out about their graduate programs.

Your Mentors/Role Models

Pay close attention to where the people you consider to be career role models went to school. As you read articles, books, watch interviews, etc., find out where the people whose work you admire went to school. These 'backdoor' resources can be quite helpful!

Geographic Location

If you know where you want to live when it is time to start your career, it can be advantageous to go to graduate school in that geographic area as well. Ties that you develop here could lead to jobs in the area. Do some research and see if there are any schools that match your criteria.,

These websites, and others, are great tools to find programs that you might not be aware of otherwise. You can search by type of program and geographic area. From there you can access the university website and get more information about the program.

Gettysburg College Alumni

If you want to see where alumni from your major have gone to graduate school, Career Development can help you get this information. Your department may be able to assist with this request as well.


The internet is a resource for blogs with information about graduate school. Some bloggers write specifically about their school/program and others are more general. If you are interested in reading about one person's opinion, then blogs might be a good resource for you. However, keep in mind that blogs can be very biased and opinionated. Be cautious about forming your own opinion solely on what you read in a blog.

Narrow Your List and Questions to Ask During Campus Visits

It is likely that you have a pretty lengthy list of schools that look interesting. Here are some suggestions for how to narrow the list down to 6-12 target schools. You may want to rank them: 1. Reach Schools, 2. Likely Schools, 3. Safe Schools. Here are some components to consider.


Does the faculty conduct research in areas that interest you? Are they well known in their disciplines? Are they concerned about and accessible to students? What is the student-faculty ratio? Have they published lately? Make sure that you visit the campus and meet with faculty members in your department.


Is the program/institution nationally recognized and/or accredited? Talk to professors who teach similar undergraduate courses and ask them for any insight into the schools that interest you.

Program of Study

What emphasis does the program use? Theory? Research? Case Study? How many students are enrolled in the program? What is the student mix and attrition rate?

Geographic Location

Is this an area in which you want to spend two or more years? Attending a school far from home can greatly increase your costs. Ties that you develop here could lead to jobs in the area.


Does the department incorporate internships and/or field work into the academic program? Is there financial remuneration for projects requiring substantial time and effort?


What type of housing is available? How extensive and available are labs and facilities? How comprehensive is the library?


How will you pay for school? Does your department or the university in general have assistantships available? What are the average starting salaries of graduates in your field? Will you be able to support your loan payments? Is financial aid available?


What do current students in the program have to say about it? The graduate admissions office or the department can put you in touch with current students.


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