Yes, the frustration you are experiencing right now is common. Finding the right graduate program is difficult and it takes a lot of work. The main reason is because there are a LOT of options. Too many options. Way too many options. In the US alone, you can find a graduate program in any given academic specialty at anywhere from 60 to 600 universities. And the bigger the university the more likely it will have multiple graduate programs in that field, which compounds the complexity even further.
That is a lot of finding and sorting and deciding to do. Yet, the flip side of those big numbers also suggest that there IS a program out there that will fit a student better than any other program. But how do they find it?
About 90% of all doctoral degrees (which include research doctorates and professional doctorates) and half of all masters degrees are awarded by about 450 universities in the US, that each average about 100 graduate programs. These are the graduate and professional schools that most of the good students wish to attend. The remainder of the graduate degrees awarded each year come from about 2300 other colleges and universities!!
Choosing a graduate program is the biggest career decision most people make up to that point in their lives. How do you easily filter through your options? Especially knowing that the choice you make will fundamentally change the trajectory of your career. If done the way most have been doing it, the laws of probability suggest you will probably miss those programs that might suit you better than the ones they are looking at now. In other words, there is a 99% chance the typical applicant has not applied to the right programs.
This problem is a lot like the following absurdity: Imagine an automobile industry in the US where there are 450 individual manufacturers, and each produces about 100 different car models. How do you find the right make and model if you are buying? And how do the right manufacturers find you if they are selling a model you’d probably like a lot, if you only knew about it?
We built Gradschoolmatch.com to solve this problem. We built some smart technology to help you make this difficult and important decision. Gradschoolmatch has a match algorithm that suggests specific graduate programs for student users who come to the site and fill out their profiles. Our search engine is single-minded, dedicated solely to the task of matching graduate student prospects with the right program.
Gradschoolmatch.com also has users who are the faculty and staff who run those graduate programs. They use Gradschoolmatch to search for students who have the right backgrounds and interests to fit their programs. Think about it. If you are frustrated by trying to find that one program in a few hundred options, imagine their frustration at trying to find those few perfect students out of millions.
These faculty and staff are actually not only experts at knowing whether their program is right for a given student, and therefore can be a tremendous resource to draw upon, but they are also often the program admissions directors, too. Why would you go somewhere else for answers to your questions when you can go straight to the experts who make the calls at the programs you are looking at?
How well does it work? The most common feedback we hear from student users is some version of, “I didn’t even know that program exists!” Or, “You’ve made this so much easier!” Or, “Thank you.”
We also speak often with current graduate students, too, who almost never fail to say, “I wish I had Gradschoolmatch when I was looking for grad schools.”