Admissions Tuesday Tip: Research Schools

Person using laptop

In this Tuesday’s Tip, you’ll learn the importance of researching schools to narrow your graduate school list to be more meaningful and realistic.

Researching schools is not a finite task during the graduate school application process.  Clearly, you will need to research schools to narrow your school list, but you will also need to deepen your knowledge of each school to demonstrate the proper fit throughout the application process.  

The main strategy behind building a realistic and robust school list is to use a multitude of sources to perform your school research.  Don’t rely on rankings to do all of the work for you! Here is a short list of some of the resources you can use for school research:

  • Rankings
  • Grad school tours
  • School websites
  • School visits
  • Websites (e.g.,
  • Talking to alumni and current students

Full Tip:

Hey everyone Eric Allen here with today’s Tuesday Tip. This one may seem kind of obvious but a lot of people don’t do it. This week’s Tip is research schools. Seems silly but a lot of people rely on rankings or word of mouth, of oh I am going to apply to this school. You’re spending so much money, time, and effort through the application process and over the next year or two going, through the actual process of obtaining your degree. Make sure you’re doing all that you can to research schools. And there are several ways of doing that.

Rankings are obviously a great way to get started, but really shouldn’t be the only way. You should go to school websites. Fill out an information form. Obviously, there’s a lot of information on those sites. You might get a feel on YouTube or other places that the school references as well like their Facebook page. Really spend time on those sites and go to tours. They’re great events they come out to cities near you where you can actually go and speak to admissions representatives, and you’re there with other applicants. I mean it’s really a great way for you to get a feel for what schools are looking for, and what kinds of questions are being asked. Even if it’s not a school that you’re necessarily interested in it really gives you good practice for when you do connect with schools that you’re interested in. There are some cool Web sites out there. We have one called, where you can research schools connect with other people, and get feedback on your profile. There are lots of other great web sites out there where you can do some research. Just be aware that a lot of the social sites do have people on there that make comments that may or may not be correct, so take that with a grain of salt.

Visiting schools, there’s nothing better than actually just going and visiting campus if you can. Obviously, for some of the candidates who can’t afford it financially or maybe international student, you don’t have the ability to do that but that is probably the best way to really get to know a school. Then finally talk to people, reach out to people on LinkedIn, students, alumnus. They love to talk about their schools and you really get a sense from those folks who’ve been there, who’ve either graduated from there are currently there really get a sense for the school. So the bottom line here is don’t be lazy. Make sure you’re researching schools, you’re gonna be spending a lot of time and money on this process so make sure you make it count.

Next Week’s Tip: Know Your Weaknesses

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Eric Allen is the President and Founder of Admit Advantage, the leading admissions consulting company in the world.  He earned an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and worked on the admissions staff at the University of Pennsylvania.  Eric has personally worked with thousands of clients over his 12 years working in the admissions advising space.