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How is Graduate Study Different from Undergraduate?

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UNDERGRADUATE vs. GRADUATE STUDIES: similarities and differences

There are important differences between candidates for Bachelor’s and candidates for a Master’s or doctoral degrees. Let’s review them below:

UNDERGRADUATE STUDIES GRADUATE STUDIES
Age:The typical age for an undergraduate student (Bachelor’s degree) is 18-22 years. Age:Graduate students tend to me older, generally in their mid- to late-20s or older.
Structure:There is more structure and more clear requirements in what classes you take, where you live. There is guidance and shorter deadlines. Structure:There is generally less structure and more autonomy in graduate studies. You can have a counselor but you would be expected to be more independent in your studies and living arrangements. You don’t have to live on campus but generally you will have more freedom and more responsibilities.
Experience and Focus:Few undergraduate students have much professional experience. They may have extracurricular activities. They don’t necessarily have to know what they want to be “when they grow up.” Experience and Focus:Most graduate candidates are expected to have some professional experience. They should also have a specific focus of studies and research. They are expected to be mature personally as well as intellectually.
Test requirements:Generally, undergraduate students have to take:

  • SAT or ACT.
  • You may need or want to take SAT II Subject Test of your choice
  • TOEFL required for all international students.
Test Requirements:GRE: This test is commonly required for admission into academic master’s and Ph.D. programs, as well as a number of business programs.
GMAT: It is used by more than 5,800 global business and management programs.
LSAT: This is the law-school entrance exam
MCAT: Almost all U.S. medical schools require MCAT scores.
Admission Requirements:

  • Completed Application form.
  • High School diploma
  • Official test scores (whatever the school requires)
  • Recommendation letters
  • Possible other materials: statement of purpose, resume, portfolio of writing, or other work
Admission Requirements:

  • Completed Application form.
  • College/University Diploma
  • Official test scores (see above)
  • Recommendation letters
  • Possible other materials: statement of purpose, resume, portfolio of writing, or other work
Other Admission Requirements:

Academic achievement is one of the main qualifications for admission. Of course, background, extracurricular activity and all the rest are also important.

Other Admission Requirements:

Getting into any graduate school requires more than a good diploma. Schools want to see experience related to what you want to do, personal motivation, time management skills, proven academic and professional record. It is possible for someone with a strong idea and on-the-ground experience to get in a school with a scholarship even though his/her grades are not excellent.

Coursework:

As an undergraduate you may take classes that are in different areas – science, English, social studies. U.S. education is known to emphasize broad education in a variety of fields. Classes and grades is how you evaluate students.

Coursework:

As a graduate student you specialize in a field and conduct in-depth studies. You are expected to complete a research project, thesis, dissertation, public presentation and teaching experience.

Research:

You are encouraged to participate in some research but expectations may not be high.

Research:

At the Master’s and especially at the Doctoral level, you are required to contribute an original piece of research within your academic discipline.

Class Size:

That depends on the college but most courses at large colleges/universities are very large (30 students or more). Nearly all classes will be based on lectures and textbooks. Involvement with faculty is largely at your initiative.

Class Size:

Many courses are small; nearly all of them are seminars. Involvement with faculty is direct and extensive.

GPA:

Students may remain enrolled and continue progress on their degree even if GPA falls below a 3.0.

GPA:

Minimum GPA for continuing enrolment is a 3.0

Interpersonal Relationships:

You are part of a larger group and will interact mostly with friends your age.

Interpersonal Relationships:

You are part of a smaller group. Working independently and in a team will be part of your success.

Finances:

Students finance their own education.

Finances:

Students can receive tuition support and stipends or apply for graduate assistantships/fellowships.

January 21, 2015

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