Cornell University

Making the Most of Graduate School Day

When deciding whether, where, and when to undertake graduate study, it is important to learn as much as you can about different programs. Prepare a list of questions to review with admissions representatives from schools of interest to you at Graduate School Day. The following areas of consideration can help you create a list of questions on issues that are important to you.

Admissions Policies/Procedures

  • How much weight is assigned to the undergraduate record, including GPA, letters of recommendation, research experience, the GRE or other standardized test, the personal statement, etc.?
  • What other factors are considered?

Factors Relating to Faculty

Be sure to investigate faculty and their work/research at schools of interest to you.  

  • What is their academic training?
  • Their research activity and productivity?
  • Their concern for student development?
  • Their teaching effectiveness?
  • How is the morale in student groups they lead?

School's Resources

  • What are the library holdings?
  • Is the library large enough to accommodate the schools' holdings and allow students to conduct research and study?
  • How helpful is the library staff?
  • What financial support is available?
  • In general, do the facilities provide a comfortable learning environment?

Students at the School

  • What undergraduate schools have they attended?
  • What is their academic ability at entrance?
  • What are their achievements, knowledge, and skills at completion of their graduate degree?
  • What is their satisfaction with various aspects of the program?
  • How can you investigate this information at schools you're considering?

Student Life

  • Is housing available at the school?
  • If not, does the school offer assistance in locating off-campus housing?
  • Is the school located in a safe area?
  • What is the cost of living?
  • What types of cultural opportunities are there?
  • Does the school provide recreational facilities?

Career Services

  • How much assistance is given to students searching for internships during their graduate study and to seeking full-time employment following graduation?
  • Who provides the help?
  • Do companies/organizations recruit on campus?
  • In what types of positions and in what geographic areas do graduates work?
  • What are typical salaries of graduates?

The Graduate & Professional School Guide produced annually by Cornell Career Services is also a good resource for helping you manage the information-gathering and application processes.