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Online Grad Student Tips: The First Steps

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Without a doubt, the year 2020 has played out quite differently than I imagined. From finishing out my undergraduate degree as a distance learner to transitioning to working remotely, I often wondered what other changes might be on the horizon. I questioned how my personal and professional goals might take shape amid a global pandemic. As my undergraduate career came to a close, I began to consider continuing my education with a graduate degree. My position of employment at the University of North Texas afforded me an introduction to the University’s fully-online graduate programs- options I could pursue whether or not we were in a pandemic. It was this familiarization that motivated me to seriously investigate which options would meet my needs and whether I wanted to move forward in applying to graduate school at UNT. Throughout this process of consideration, I asked questions and did my research- neither of which would have occurred as seamlessly if it weren’t for the university’s resources. The following information outlines a few first steps that I recommend you take as you consider pursuing a graduate program at UNT.

1. Assess your interests.

Remember that your graduate degree does not have to be an exact continuation of your undergraduate degree! The pursuit of a graduate degree is an excellent opportunity to learn about something located at the intersection of your undergraduate degree, your current personal interests, and your career aspirations. Once you brainstorm a few top interests and career possibilities, it’s time to think about what majors may fit the bill. From more structured programs such as the MBA, to the self-styled option of the MA/MS in Interdisciplinary Studies, there’s a program out there that can help you get the education you seek.

2. Utilize the job outlook function on the UNT Online site.

While you are in the information search stage of your decision-making process, visit UNT Online’s website and test out the job outlook function! Located at the bottom of each program’s page, this tool allows you to see how many job openings there have been in the past twelve months in a particular field as well as which organizations have posted job openings during that time. Type in a few favorable zip codes and see what’s out there.

3. Reach out to University faculty and staff.

If you’ve already searched the University’s official sites for information on your college and degree program of interest but still have questions, figure out who to ask! The faculty and staff at UNT are truly some of the most helpful people you can turn to throughout your academic journey. Whether it be an advisor, the assistant director for graduate recruitment, or a specific program director, there is someone within the university who has the answers to your questions. The key to successfully deciding which graduate program is right for you is understanding what you want. A post-secondary degree is a great time to dive deeper in your current interests or pivot in a new direction altogether. Whatever your decision regarding your academic future may be, UNT offers a wide variety of programs to meet your needs.