Yep! It is that time of year. If you are reading this you most likely graduated from college a year or two ago and realize you need more education to attain your professional goals. Quite possibly you (and your employer) find your communications and media skills excellent but you are lacking skills in financial and data analysis. Or you are great at quantitative tasks but your leadership and team building skills need improvement. So you decide to take the plunge and go back for a masters degree or MBA.
First you should know today your higher educational choices are vast. If you do your research you can most likely find a program or concentration that seems to be designed specifically with you in mind. You can find fabulous programs in just about any field. Think Masters of Real Estate or an MBA with an emphasis in Social Innovation and Impact. And you now can choose between full-time one and two year programs, part time programs (they usually take a bit longer) and online courses from very respected universities allowing you to work full time and attend classes remotely.
Our best advice for choosing the program for you is to read. Read. And read some more. Click every tab on the schools’ websites. Look for little admissions “tells”. For example if 92% of accepted students have taken the GMATs but you had planned to take the GREs, you might want to re-consider that decision. And if you have any questions, do not hesitate to call or email the admissions office. They are there to help and actually enjoy answering well thought out questions. But we do have one warning. Do not contact the admissions office to ask a questions clearly covered on their website. For example, do not call them to ask how many recommendations you need or how long your essay should be. We promise you, that information can be found online.
And most importantly create a spreadsheet to keep track of all the admissions requirements and deadlines of any programs you are considering applying to.
GMAT vs GRE (and does it matter?)
Although choosing the best graduate school program is a very personal and individualized endeavor, the one universal aspect of the process is the requirement to submit a standardized test score. (GMAT, GRE, LSAT, or MCAT) And chances are you have been out of the testing mindset for at least a few years. Who knows the last time you solved an algebra or geometry problem let alone thought about grammatical rules. But here is the good news, you can re-learn that information in just a few months if you truly dedicate yourself to mastering your chosen test.
GMAT vs GRE
If you are interested in applying for an advanced business degree, you will most likely have a choice between taking the GREs and the GMATs. We love this GMAT vs GRE infographic succinctly describing the differences between the two. One caveat, as mentioned earlier, even if all evidence points to you doing better on one test than the other, be sure to check with your top choice universities to verify that they do not prefer one test over the other. Additionally, one US New and World Report article actually comes right out and says some experts suggest “Submitting a GMAT score can show that an applicant is serious about getting an MBA“
Choosing a Test Prep Program
We make no bones about it, we like Magoosh. Why? Their great content combined with video explanations of each and every question sold us. Plus, their 7 day free trial and their ridiculously low price of $149.00 for their premium plan proved to be the value proposition. Why spend more when the best costs less. We bought the GRE 6 Month Premium Plan and for us, at least, it worked. Our Gets test taker did well – ok very, very well, on the GREs. It was only after using the program ourselves, and paying full price, did we team up with Magoosh to spread the word.
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