7 Tips for Getting a Master's Degree ...

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Deciding to get an advanced degree is a huge commitment, but with the help of a few key tips for getting a master’s degree, you can at least have a better idea about what to expect and how to get the most out of your experience.

When I went back to school to get my master’s several years ago, I was definitely excited, but also a bit nervous about what was in store.2

Whether you’re planning to get your degree right after completing a bachelor’s or are returning to school later on the way I did, here are seven useful tips for getting a master’s degree that will help you stay on track from start to finish.

1. Thoroughly Research Programs

With so many course listings, online and otherwise, being described as advanced degree programs these days, one of my most important tips for getting a master’s degree is to thoroughly research options before choosing the ones that are most in line with your personal and professional goals.

Before applying, take the time to connect with alumni and professors via LinkedIn or by attending the university’s alumni events.

Ask detailed questions about not only the program itself, but also the resources available to students after they graduate.

Does the college provide helpful services like job-search assistance?

What type of balance does the program have between teaching theory and providing practical, real-world advice?

Make sure that each program you apply to meets your expectations so that after you graduate, you’ll have more than just a piece of paper and a major dent in your wallet to show for all of the hard work you've put in.

2. Estimate Your Time Commitment

Depending how many classes you’ll be able to take at a time and whether you’ll be simultaneously balancing a job and other obligations, getting a master’s degree can take anywhere from one year to several.

Will your program allow you to take a leave of absence if need be, or are there a certain number of courses you’ll be required to take each semester?

Some master’s programs are specifically designed to accommodate working professionals, while others are less flexible, so be realistic about your schedule when considering which ones might be a good fit.

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