The Many Advantages of the Top Graduate Schools
Every year thousands of college and university graduates make the decision to further their academic field of interest (or completely alter it) by applying to one of the nation’s many graduate school programs. For those that choose to devote several years of their life to a very specialized area of study, where you earn your degree can have a significant impact on your future.When it comes to selecting from the top graduate schools, it’s important to consider all kinds of mitigating factors, from tuition costs and financial aid, to the faculty and advisers with which you will potentially be working. One of the most important qualifiers to reflect on, however, is the program’s rank and reputation in your sought-after discipline.
While there aren’t many people in the world today that would argue against education being a universal right for anyone willing to learn, the ecosystem for those pursuing Masters Degrees, PhDs, and other high level academic accreditation is not a place hospitable to equal opportunity, but is rather built on a foundation of hierarchy. In other words, choosing one of the top graduate schools, with established prestige and pedigree, genuinely does provide the best return investment for aspiring grad students. Even if the school you consider does not have the most excellent reputation nationally, if the school is known as a leader in your particular field, it is important to give it your full attention.
There are many reasons why getting into the highest-ranking graduate program you can matters. First off, top graduate schools are typically the best financed, meaning they have better research labs and resources, more scholars with national reputations to serve as your mentors, and a better means of luring in high-profile academics with which to network.
The most important reason to get accepted into a top-tier graduate program, however, is the increased opportunity of employment after earning your diploma. Graduate school is a means to a job, and when tens of thousands of graduate degrees are getting handed out every year, employers are not going to be shy about applying the math to narrow down resumes: that the graduate from the No. 4 program is likely going to be more qualified than the graduate from the No. 27 program.
While the forces affecting who winds up where in the academic job market are not set in stone (not all top graduate schools have job placement rates of 100 percent and not all second and third tier program are devoid of all opportunities), getting into a top graduate program only increases your chances of success, and when you invest the kind of money and time graduate school requires, you should do everything possible to lessen its risk of failure.