You are now accepted to your graduate school of choice. You are now in the online masters degree of your choice and the future of your career certainly looks promising. Now the question is, what will it take to complete the degree on time and with little stress? Let us look at this step-by-step.
Returning to school is certainly a long-term commitment that requires months or years of sacrifice and good planning in your online graduate degree program. The good news is that it is possible to take actions that will make your time in the program manageable. Graduate school includes masters degree, professional degree, specialist degree, doctorate degree and PhD degree programs. Other areas in graduate studies are medical schools, law school, veterinary medicine degrees and other areas of study in professional degree programs. Some examples of these are nurse practitioner school, advanced business studies, etc.
Graduate School Success – Complete your Online Masters Degree in Seven Quick Steps
Step 1 – Develop your program of study early. In most masters degree programs you need about 36 hours or more to complete your degree. Clarify this information with your department or graduate coordinator. Most graduate schools also have a program of study form for you to complete, to guide you in the program. Each semester or quarter, be sure to enroll in the minimum number of course. If you don’t some programs might think you have dropped out of the course. Also, be sure to review future courses and when they are offered so that you don’t miss out when they are offered.
Step 2 – Enroll in and complete all your courses. Of course be careful when planning your course load for most online graduate school degrees. It is always advisable to contact and meet your your academic advisor at least once or twice each academic term so as to discuss your experiences and accomplishments in the program.
Step 3 – Pull together your thesis advisement committee. If your department requires you to write a thesis, or research project you may need the input of several faculty members. Consult with your advisor on whom would best serve on your committee to guide you in your research.
Step 4 – Do some in-depth research about the new career you are working toward. Take time during the program of study to learn more about the needs and structure of your desired career. You can do by taking an internship, talking to people in the profession, taking related courses, and doing your own Internet-based research.
Step 5 – Prepare your thesis. If your department requires you to write a thesis, work with your advisor or committee do develop this. This can be challenging and time consuming but if done well you will be proud of your accomplishments. If you are not required to do a thesis, find out if a comprehensive exam or portfolio is required instead. Some program do give you choices, so find out what they are.
Step 6 – Begin researching for jobs that you might be interested in. Compile your professional resume including your resume, best artifacts, your reference list and other items that speak to your best work. Do not wait until the day before graduation to start looking for a job as others might also be doing the same thing. Be ahead of the crowd!
Step 7 – Apply for graduation. At some point during your program of study, apply for graduation. Be sure to check the deadlines. Some come up very early in the program, and you certainly do not want to miss that.
If flexibility is important for you, you might consider taking online classes or enrolling in programs that have options such as evenings and weekends. While it is important to graduate, it is even more important to ensure that the program you graduate from is from an accredited college or university whether online or on-campus. No sense graduating with a degree that no one will recognize.