Going to Grad School: Where to Apply?


A couple of weeks ago, I had mentioned that I wanted to go to graduate school. When I started doing research, I was looking for anything to help. A blog, a review, an infographic, anything. I feel like if you're not currently in school, there isn't that much information available to you. So the new series/chronicles of me attempting to apply to graduate school and see how things go. 

Today, I wanted to talk about how to decide where to apply. The biggest thing for me is that I didn't know where I wanted to apply. Sure, there are a ton of schools with great reputations that I would love to go to, but how do you find the best school for yourself? Unless you already had an idea of where you wanted to go, or if you wanted to stay with your undergraduate school it gets a little complicated. 

The first thing that you need to do is narrow down what you want to study, and what field. Personally, I'm looking into Modern European History with a focus on intellectual and cultural history. For history, it's important to find a professor who specializes in your field, otherwise how are they going to advise you? It may be different for math/science courses but I'm not sure about that because that is definitely not my strong suit. 

I decided to break it down by places that I may want to study, schools I admired, schools that I could see myself at, and schools that were such a reach but I was going to try anyways. I spread them out all over the country, particularly because my boyfriend lives in California and I was wondering if there was a school that was good out there.   

Then after I had a list of about 50 schools, yes 50, I started doing real research. I looked at what they require to apply, what professors they have, and what they specialized in. Finding a historian that studies modern European history is a little bit harder than I thought it would be. I narrowed it down to about 20 schools, and then took a break. 

The next day, I narrowed it down even further to 11 schools. Those 11 schools will be the ones that I'm applying to. I've heard that anywhere between 10-15 schools is a good number to apply to, but I only wanted to apply to schools that I really felt would be a good fit for me. 

All in all, figuring out where to apply boils down to the amount of research you want to do. Things are different for each person, but this is the process that helped me the most.
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