It’s your graduating year, and now post-secondary has become less about worrying what to wear for Frosh Week and more about figuring out your plan after the caps and gowns are tucked away.
Anyone you know with post-secondary school behind them can tell you the final year goes by the fastest. While you can expect to be busy with internships, thesis papers, and cumulative projects, somewhere in the middle of it all, you’ll also be determining where you will be a year from now. Some of your peers will launch their careers, while others will travel. But you, on the other hand, have your sights somewhere else: grad school.
You don’t have to make the decision alone. Organizations and post-secondary schools across Canada organize grad school fairs every year to attract new, wide-eyed students to their programs. Whether you want to study in the country or abroad, grad fairs are within reach and they’re there to help. You just have to do your part in researching and marking the important dates down in your calendars.
Most grad fairs take place in the earlier months of the school year. If you have an idea of the type of program you’re interested in—be it a master in education or an MBA—an online search can lead you to upcoming events. Your school can also offer information on upcoming grad fairs, so keep your eyes peeled for posters and emails.
The MBA Tour, an independent and high quality information source focusing on MBA admissions, hosts recruiting and networking fairs in Canada each fall. This year, they’ll be touring major cities for two weeks in November, connecting students with B-school admissions directors.
“I encourage students to meet with as many schools as possible to really collect information,” says Sarah Swan, marketing manager at The MBA Tour. “I think the whole personal touch of networking can speak to the culture of a school and the fit they may have with each other.”
And if you’re looking to go international, studying abroad is largely promoted in Canada. Organizations like StudyandGoAbroad.com, Canada’s “largest international university and student travel expo,” showcases everything from undergraduate, graduate, exchange, and gap-year opportunities here and abroad. With exhibits across the country in early October, students have the chance to learn more about your options, and ultimately make wiser grad school decisions.
These exhibits aren’t merely meant for you to collect program pamphlets and stand in the background. The schools attending fairs typically send representatives from their grad programs to talk to students about studying options, answer questions, and offer advice.
“Our events provide many different avenues for students to collect information,” says Swan, “everything from learning the different steps of admissions and the application process, to learning about GMAT tips and sessions about school programs.”
As you attend these fairs, be prepared to ask questions of your own. This would be an opportune time to ask representatives about each school’s admissions process, tuition, and student life. You’re ultimately trying to determine which school and program will be the best fit for you academically, financially, and personally.
“You can stumble upon a program that looks really good online,” explains Swan. “When you actually interact with the school, you might realize one school isn’t for you, but then might also find another school that seems better suited.”
This is your chance to network with the professionals and program heads to make the most informed decision for the next step in your academic career. Use them to your advantage!
Photos: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Thinkstock