Types of Master’s Programs
There are over 100 different types of master’s degrees, but an easier way to think about master’s degrees is research or professional. A research master’s is one or two years, typically involves a research project, and usually earned on the way to a Ph.D. A professional master’s takes a similar amount of time, but focuses instead on preparing a student to work in a specific field such as teaching or engineering.
Gain Relevant Experience
Your best preparation for a master’s program is experience that will help you decide what type of master’s degree to pursue and in what discipline. Conducting undergraduate research, taking a range of academic courses in your interests, and learning more about different industries through internships and full-time work experience are all great ways to gain relevant experience prior to applying to graduate school.
One thing to keep in mind though, is that, as with all graduate programs, it’s likely you’ll need to have a strong GPA and good relationships with professors, advisors, or supervisors for letters of recommendation. If you know you want to pursue additional studies beyond an undergraduate degree, it’s a good idea to begin cultivating these relationships early.
Take the GRE
Depending on your areas of study, you may need to take the general GRE and a subject area test. Your academic advisor will be able to give you more information about the graduate admissions standards of your discipline. ETS, administrators of the GRE, offer an official prep book that include full-length practice tests pulled from older exams. Many students have found taking practice tests to be the most helpful method of preparation for standardized testing, but if you seek more structure, there are classes available through test prep companies. Test prep companies, such as Kaplan and The Princeton Review, have free practice tests and resources on their websites.