How to: Get your Master’s Degree, Part II

questions, answers, asking questions, master's degree, education, university, pif, finances, applicationStep 2: Discover the questions.

No, not the answers, the questions.

1) Why am I doing this? What will I get out of it at the end? What will I get out of it as I go? What will keep me going a few years into the process when the end seems nowhere in sight? (Thanks, Dad, for reminding me to answer this question first!)

2) What is the application deadline? Are there multiple pieces of the application that have different deadlines?

3) Do I meet the most basic criteria like number of previous credits or degrees, minimum GPA, and so on?

4) Who do I need to talk to to answer my questions? (So far, I’ve found a possible three people that may or may not be the right person.) Do I have the correct contact information (e-mail, phone, fax, or office address)?

5) What is the minimum number of years this degree can take? Maximum?

6) What are ALL the fees associated with applying and completing the degree? Do I have a plan (as vague as it may be) to pay for it? Is this worth it to me to get a loan for? Be in debt? Take the time to save up? Sacrifice other possible monetary opportunities for?

med2a7) Can I work full-time while completing the degree? If not, do I have the option to work part-time?

8) Can I change my status between full-time and part-time student from semester to semester? Year to year?

9) Do I have enough relevant (and willing) references to write letters for my application?

10) Have I kept track of all the universities (physical and “open” or distance ed) and courses I’ve taken to obtain the necessary transcripts? Do I really need the transcript for that one joke of a 200 level Psych course I did through…. some Open University in my third year of my first bachelor’s?!

11) What order do I submit pieces of the application? Should I wait to send my sealed transcripts to the U of C (in my case) until after my application? Or try to have it all arrive at the same time? Or submit a copy WITH my application and also have copies sent directly from the university?

12) Are there options for scholarships, bursaries, grants, or PIF money (as I have recently discovered the CBE has)?

13) What the heck is PIF and how does it work? Who do I call? Is it a one-time deal or can I apply for funding every year? Can I get both funding and time off, or just one?

14) What are the requirements for the practica and the internships? Time commitments? Can I still work full-time around these? Can I do my internship within the CBE?

med215) After considering how many questions I have, people I need to talk to, research I have to do, money I’ll have to pay, time and effort I’ll have to request from others, etc, and so on, do I STILL want to do this?

If the answer to number 15 is a resounding YESSSSSS SIR! Then good luck to the both of us!

Step 3 may just be to start knockin’ off those questions and turning them into answers!

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