Why should you attend a graduate programs open house when you can simply find a wealth of information online? Well, deciding on a graduate program is a lot like deciding on any big investment, whether it be a car, home and office furnishings, retirement vehicles, or even a home. The decision always has a series of consequences. And, if you’re like most conscientious people, you want those consequences to be favorable.

Investment in Your Future

Graduate school is a significant investment. As you would when making any expensive investment, you’ll likely want to do your homework first and research all of the possibilities. You wouldn’t buy a house without first stepping inside of it to make sure it feels like home. You’d want to get a sense for how the space feels before making a long-term commitment. It’s hard to get a good grip on that by browsing photos and commentary of it online. To make a true assessment, you have to show up in person and have the opportunity to ask thorough questions. These questions are ones you may not have thought of until you made that in-person connection.

Attending an open house can be one of your greatest actions when deciding on a graduate school and program. It allows you the opportunity to get a true sense of campus, faculty, potential peers, and overall insight into whether you want to invest your hard-earned money and valuable time into it.

If you’re on the fence about whether to attend an open house while investigating graduate programs, consider the following benefits.

Connection

By attending an open house, you seat yourself at a table where strong connections begin. You have the opportunity to engage in-person with faculty, staff, and other professionals. This allows you the unique chance to get a feel for what your graduate career will look like by asking informed questions and getting real-time answers. You’ll also benefit from hearing the questions of others, ones that you may not have otherwise considered.

Networking Opportunity

An open house is a networking event. This type of event typically attracts successful and eager professionals who are excited about furthering their knowledge base. By attending, you surround yourself with people who are highly motivated and passionate about improving their lives. The attendants and facilitators are professionals who often represent in-demand companies. They may become your greatest allies as you traverse your future career landscape. Sitting among them, you’ll get a glimpse of who they are, where they work, and what drives them forward. This first-hand experience allows for greater clarity over one of the biggest career decisions you’ll make.

A New View

Let’s get hypothetical for a moment. Perhaps you always thought you wanted to be a scientist or an engineer, but then you heard about a career in IO Psychology and your heart skipped. A career in such a field never occurred to you because you had never heard of it. Well, an open house is a great chance for you to be exposed to new things that you never would’ve considered.

Dialogue

Real-time dialogue is incredibly valuable. An open house offers you the ability to ask first-hand what makes a program unique. You’ll get to see for yourself in that first impression glimpse just what the leadership, professionalism, and passion looks and feels like at an institution.

To make the most out of an open house experience, go into it with the inquisitive mind of a serious shopper. Explore all angles. Ask plenty of questions. Analyze the answers against previous research and your gut feelings. Take stock of how the program, staff, and faculty make you feel. Gauge that first impression and decide if all the elements add up to something that makes sense for you. An open house is like a buffet of resources. You can indulge in as little or as much as you want of the information provided. It’s completely up to you! And, isn’t that a great choice?

UMBC’s Division of Professional Studies holds in-person open houses in the Fall, Spring and Summer. Dates are announced on our website once scheduled. In the meantime, we always welcome you to schedule a visit with our program staff. Simply visit us and submit your name and email, and we’ll get in touch with you!

 

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