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How to Prepare for Success in Grad School

Do you have a passion to change the world around you, but aren’t sure where to begin? The mission of Southeastern University is to help you discover and develop your divine design — which is the unique calling that God has placed on your life. 

Whether you are looking to advance in your field, grow your knowledge base, or take your career in a new direction, graduate school is the bridge between where you are now and your career goals. An advanced degree can grant you a deeper awareness of the ideas, technologies, and opportunities within your preferred field. 

However, some of us just can’t seem to get past the price tag or the time commitment that grad school entails. 

Can you really be successful in going back to school? Yes! Here’s how.

Prepare Your Financial Plan

Pursuing an advanced degree definitely requires you to reorganize your finances. However, this is more doable than you may think. SEU has highly-competitive master’s and doctoral tuition rates, and our dedicated graduate enrollment team works with every student to make it work.

When making your financial plans for grad school, your first stop should be completing the FAFSA so that you can see the types of aid for which you may qualify. If approached carefully, student loans can also be a viable option. Our enrollment team also suggests that prospective graduate students check with their employers to see if they will pay for (or reimburse) some or all of their tuition or educational expenses. Financial aid websites and various organizations may also provide funds you don’t need to pay back. Start the financial aid process here.

Find Time for Coursework

Professors generally advise students to reserve about ten hours a week for master’s work and twenty hours a week for doctoral assignments. What does this mean if you have a full routine of work, family, and personal obligations? Our faculty advise catching an hour whenever you can (such as on lunch breaks or by getting up earlier than usual) and reminding yourself that graduate school is a worthy investment. 

For a season, graduate students may compromise leisure time (and occasionally sleep) for their education. But not in vain. According to studies from the US Social Security Administration, College Board, and The Hamilton Project, those with a bachelor’s degree, on average, earn between $400,000 and $655,000 more in lifetime earnings than high school graduates. This amount climbs when students complete a master’s program, and increases further for doctoral graduates.

Like any good habit, it takes time and effort to establish a rhythm, but your mind will begin developing shortcuts for you to achieve your goals in less time. Believe in yourself and have faith that God will provide you with everything you need to accomplish His will. 

Find Your Support System

Because grad school is such an undertaking, having a strong support system is a must. Our commitment to fostering community and the value we place on servant leadership enables SEU’s master’s and doctoral programs to be more personal than many others. 

The tone of each class is set by our professors who combine their expertise with a desire to see their students succeed. They are relational — deeply caring for students — and make themselves available to clarify information and offer guidance. Graduate students at SEU work with their professors, rather than having to figure everything out on their own. 

For many graduate-level degrees at SEU, students journey through their respective programs with a specific cohort. For example, in our Doctor of Ministry program, you’re with the same cohort the whole way through, which allows you to develop relationships with your peers. Starting your graduate journey may be an intimidating first step, but you can be confident knowing that each step after will be in the company of people who care for you and want to see you succeed.

Explore Your Options

There are so many great ways to learn about master’s and doctoral programs before committing to one. At SEU, you can learn about programs by exploring our degree programs, meeting with your graduate enrollment counselor or attending a virtual info session

Remember Your “Why”

Still not sure how you’ll tackle the financial side of heading back to the classroom? Don’t forget your “why.” Call to mind why you want to enroll in a master’s or doctoral program in the first place. Yes, managing your time and money will be a lot. But remind yourself that these are just stepping stones to your goal — whether that is enhancing your ministry, owning your own business, earning that promotion, changing your career path, or developing a new professional framework.

You really can go back to school. With proper preparation, exploring your options, and trusting in God, we believe there is nothing that can keep you from reaching the next level in your learning journey. You were created for a unique purpose — and we’re ready to come alongside you as you take your next steps toward fulfilling it.

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

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