Reputation or Cost? Choosing a School for Graduate Studies

The exorbitant costs of high education pose a heavy burden to students and their families or sponsors. However, it seems that the cost is the least of factors that affect the choice of school for graduate programs. From a report released by a financier of higher education, it is estimated that only 12% of students consider cost when choosing a graduate school. A bigger proportion attach a higher value to reputation, such as quality and convenience.

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So, which should be the deciding factor when choosing a graduate school – the cost of the program or the reputation of the graduate school? Read on for an in-depth look.

Graduate schools that have specialized faculties

The simple mention of being a graduate or postgraduate student of a reputable school gives some added advantage. The institution’s reputation is backed by real qualifications. Whichever field you choose to pursue graduate studies, consider a college where the faculty for the course is renowned, and has a trusted program on offer with a good collection of journals in its well-stocked library that is related to your specialization. The faculty of your interest in the school you choose should comprise of the best specialists in your area of pursuit.

Reputation offers an upper hand in the job market

In addition to graduating with a prestigious institution’s, you also gain access to the advantages that accompany attending such an institution. The majority of these institutions have top-notch career services and great alumni linkages which can give you an upper hand in your career. Highly reputable schools will give you an added inside advantage as you look for a job – either in academia or other areas.

Opportunities for alternative funding from reputable institutions

Many lines of specialization offer fellowships, stipends, and internships. These can greatly reduce the cost of the graduate studies and may help you afford to study without paying directly. You may end up paying even less when you choose a costly reputable graduate school over a less costly one.

Considering the cost to minimize financial burden after studies

While it may be advantageous to get certification from a reputable school when hunting for a job, this may come at a very high cost if you have to spend all your resources and maybe even incur debts. In cases where graduating in your specialization does not guarantee very good pay or you intend to maintain a certain way of life, attending a less prestigious school would be a great compromise if you can graduate debt-free and financially stable.

Choosing the right fit for you

You must consider the school that offers you the right environment or that is a fit for you. Reputable institutions may not necessarily be in line with your personality or values, and you may feel more at home in a less reputable institution.

Graduate programs are independent of the schools offering them

Programs in graduate studies are often autonomous of the schools that house them. You may find a highly reputable university that does not excel in an area where a less reputable one shines. Those who choose a college only on reputation status only may be disappointed to find that the school is not the best in their specialization area.

Final thought

When choosing a graduate school, it should not be strictly about cost or reputation. Research and gain an in-depth understanding of your personal priorities.

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