Stephen F. Austin State University

Choosing a School

How to choose a school

It is important to consider the following criteria when deciding whether a particular graduate school is right for you:

Program of Study

Look to see if the degrees and concentration are what you are interested in. It is important to know if your program is theory-based or focused on practical application. Find out what research, internship, and practicum opportunities you are interested in and see if you can meet these at that particular school's program.


First, you need to see if you meet the prerequisites for that program, whether these are certain classes or full-time work experience. Be sure to carefully review all admission application requirements to make sure you submit a complete application.


You will want to consider the size and diversity of the department, which will determine the student/faculty ratio and a lot of the departmental focus. Find out the credentials of the faculty members and whether any of them have conducted research or published in the field. These faculty members are your potential instructors and mentors.


Check for the accreditation of your program with the proper professional associations. The longer a program has been established, the longer its reputation. Newer programs may not be as established but may also bring in fresh ideas. It is always interesting to find out about or get in touch with outstanding alumni from your field of study to see what opportunities this education will bring you.


Finances are usually an important factor so find out the cost of tuition and fees, financial assistance available to you, as well as Graduate or Research Assistantships that can cover some of your expenses.


Graduate school requires a lot of study time, so you will need to research the availability of adequate study facilities on your prospective campus. Also find out about the different student services, recreation, clubs, and health/medical facilities available on campus and in the community where you will live.


Consider where you will be living for the next few years of your life. The location, weather, political and social climate may all be factors in your decision, as well as the size of the school and community. See if the area offers cultural and recreational activities that meet your interest and/or curiosities.

Print Page

Printable version of this page: Choosing a School