Rigor of Program
- Understand that all programs are not created equal. You want to choose a school that will give you the proper training to prepare you to be a leader in your field. This one can be tricky to assess. While we all love rankings, and top programs are usually synonymous with rigor, I encourage reaching out to students and talking to them to learn more.
- You obviously want to go to a place where people are top in the field, however and more importantly, you want to go to a school where the faculty is invested in you as a professional and as a person. If faculty are invested in you, then they will ensure they are supplying you all that you need to develop as a professional. It’s nice to say that you went to a school where ground-breaking Professor X teaches. But more importantly, did you take a course with that professor? Was he or she accessible to you?
- Are there many opportunities to conduct research? Do events such as guest lecturers, symposiums, and events that help augment one’s educational experience happen on campus? If so, how often? What type of professional and student organizations does the school have? Is there freedom to found my own organization if there is a need? Be sure to check out what types of opportunities are available outside of the classroom. These matter!
- What does the school value? Diversity? Health Disparities? Innovation? Is the school student-centered? More importantly, are the values and culture of the schools ones that you agree with or align with? Does the school facilitate personal growth outside of one’s area of academic study?