Do I Need to Attend Graduate Degree Information Meetings?

by Naomi Mannino

Curious about whether it’s necessary—or even worth it—for you to attend a graduate degree information meeting when you’re considering starting a graduate program? Rest assured, it definitely is!

“You can learn a lot of information from a website or an email, but there is much to be gained by a genuine, face-to-face interaction with faculty, staff, and current students, whether online or in-person,” says Liz Van Skike, associate director of graduate recruitment at Azusa Pacific University. “I hear from so many students who say, ‘When I got here, I just knew,’ because of how they were cared for or the sense of community they experienced when they came on-campus for an information meeting.”

Attending an info session about graduate school offers so much more than a feeling; you can learn first-hand how a master’s degree or doctoral program could fit into your day-to-day life. Information meetings are also available for students who are considering returning to school to finish a bachelor’s degree. If you’re thinking about continuing your education, here are some helpful insights to consider.

Spend Time Exploring Your Program of Interest

Information meetings can focus on one specific program, a small grouping of programs in a similar field, or encompass the entire selection of programs available. Attending just one session can be extremely beneficial.

“At APU, some of our regional campuses host graduate program Preview Nights to showcase all of the programs offered at that campus. We also host events at our main campus in Azusa where we zoom in on several programs in a particular field such as nursing or art,” says Van Skike. “Some of our events and meetings include student panels and campus tours. Other programs host online information meetings twice in the same day, at noon and 6 p.m., to give more opportunity for people to participate on their lunch break or after work.”

Question Faculty and Staff About Classes and Practicalities

If you have any concerns about balancing work, life, and school (as well as potential job opportunities and career outcomes), an information meeting is something you don’t want to miss, Van Skike explains. It’s also a good idea to meet with admissions and financial aid representatives, who will be at the meeting, to learn more about the application process so you have all the information you need to create your continuing education plan.

“Common questions I hear prospective students ask usually involve scholarships, financial aid, application requirements, class structure, and faith integration—and we have staff and faculty on-hand to answer these questions at our information meetings,” says Van Skike. “There’s nothing like hearing the passion of a faculty member talking about their experience or research and having that ignite something in you. Our faculty love their subject matter and it can be contagious.”

Juggling Family and a Job? Get Honest, Real-Life Student Answers

At APU, some graduate degree information meetings include student panels. For prospective applicants wondering what it’s really like managing a family and job while working toward the next level of educational attainment, it can be comforting to hear honest answers and opinions from current students who are doing the same.

“My favorite often-asked question to our student panels is, ‘What do you love about this program?’,” Van Skike notes. “The students on the panel light up when talking about how they’ve found their passion in their program classes.”

Attending an informational meeting at the college you are considering for your graduate degree—or for completing your undergraduate degree as a professional student—can be your first step toward making it a reality and knowing that the school is a good fit for you.

Interested in learning more about the graduate programs offered at Azusa Pacific University? Check out the school’s Graduate and Professional Center.

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