How to Prepare for Graduate School


Retrieved from Averett University's Flickr Account

Averett University’s Spring 2022 Graduation

Caitlin Towler, Staff Writer

The day is finally here when all of your hard work has paid off and you receive your diploma. Now what? While most undergraduate students may choose to use their new degree to go out into the career field, here’s why graduate school might be for you. 

Even if you haven’t graduated yet, having a plan for the future can help you land on solid ground after graduation. 

“Start with a plan. Students must study their syllabi and plan out all major assignments and assessments on a calendar. This provides a comprehensive view of what is due and when,” Autumn Stephen, Averett Online admission counselor, said. 

Erica Bailey, associate director of admissions at Averett Online advises that students should pursue a degree in “…a subject that you are truly passionate about. Graduate school is much different from Undergrad programs, and requires a lot of motivation and self-awareness.”

While searching for a graduate school and/or program, it is important to keep in mind what you want in your degree and the price of schooling. In Stephen’s experience, students seek programs that align with their goals for their careers and the future. 

“Before making the decision to go to graduate school, make sure to have discussions with your family members, employers, and friends even! Your family and friends will need to be there to motivate you and encourage that time management if you need more structure,” Bailey said. “Your employer should know that you are investing in yourself, and be excited to offer you more opportunities after you complete your degree.”

Many graduate students decide to work while completing their master’s. Cassidy Pruitt, coordinator of enrollment marketing and communications for Averett Online, has recently received her master’s degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing. In her experience of balancing school and work life, she advises that time management is extremely important.

“If you plan to work and attend graduate school make sure you set aside designated times to complete your coursework. For example, each night when I could come home from work I would read my assigned readings for the week. Then I would complete papers on the weekend,” Pruitt said. 

When graduate schools are reviewing your application, the biggest thing they look for is academically successful students.

“Graduate schools seek students who are academically strong and ready to take graduate-level courses,” Stephen said. “In addition, graduate program faculty are looking for students whose interests and goals complement the department’s strengths.”

For students who are considering applying or attending graduate school, Pruitt advises them “To do it.”

“It is much easier to attend graduate school right after graduation than to go back later on,” Pruitt said.

Averett Online offers scholarships to students who are Averett Alumni. 

“Averett Online loves to see Danville campus students transition into one of our programs, and we even offer an $1,000 Scholarship to Alumni looking to get their Masters. We are continuing to grow our offerings of graduate degrees, and hope that you will apply as soon as you’re ready!” Bailey said. 

For more information about Averett Online and its programs, visit