Yes, this is exactly that moment – your Bruce Almighty moment where you too can sing out loud ‘I’ve got the Power’ and walk in a swag you know you were born with. Because you do have the power! The power to choose from amongst some great schools in the land of opportunities. But let’s not overindulge ourselves and forget what Uncle Ben from Spiderman taught us – With great power comes Great responsibility. And with a power this luxurious, the responsibility to make an apt decision is that much more momentous and consequential.
First things first, don’t hasten. All this while, you have been in an accelerated mode, trying to work on everything from your test scores and college exams to procuring all the required documents and applying to a myriad schools on time. And you’ve crossed the finish line! Now is the time that you put your feet on the brake pedal, relax and make sure that you review and weigh each parameter efficiently.
Here are some pointers to help you make the best decision when you have multiple admits for your Masters:
A lot of students only apply to places that offer a masters in the field in which they have completed their college major. But, at the same time, there is a huge chunk that also applies to different fields in order to do interdisciplinary work or because they want to move to a different specialization altogether. Also, students tend to sometimes fill in applications to certain schools just to be on the safe side, in case they don’t land their preferred admissions.
Now, when offered multiple admissions, you need to first finalize the specialization that you would want to pursue, based on your interests, using the method of elimination. Browse through the course objectives and the electives offered – they should allow you to do and be in sync with your desired specialization. This should leave you with those universities that offer the course of your choice.
Having chosen a specialization, you need to identify your plans for the career path that you would want to choose in the said field.
If your objective is to do research in this field, you should perform a thorough background check on the ongoing research and the laboratory facilities in the selected universities – numerous publishes papers and good current research projects indicate that the respective department encourages research and also has a sufficient amount of funding. You can also get in touch with the relevant professors and find out about the possibilities of earning a research assistantship in that university.
If you are looking for a good placement in the field, go through the previous placement records of each university rigorously to understand the packages offered and see what companies visit the campuses on an annual basis. To actually find out where your alums work or have worked, you can go through their LinkedIn profiles and also connect with them to visualize better. To have a detailed account of salary potential and benefits, you can visit PayScale.
This is what a comparison for salary potential looks like on PayScale:
Once the relevant program has been worked out and you have shortlisted two or three top contenders, it is time to figure out the actual costs of pursuing the program in each of the schools.
The university websites provide fairly decent information, including prospective scholarships and internship opportunities, but for any questions about actual overall expenses, don’t hesitate to reach out to and follow up with the institution. You can use the scholarship functionality on GyanDhan to get a sense of the net cost and apply for scholarships. Talking to alumni to get the student perspective will help. Also, you need to keep in mind that different locales have different costs of living which could impact the net out-of-pocket expenditure.
GyanDhan is an education financing marketplace with an aim to equalize and expand access to higher education.