Research the school, the degree programs, and the city
Moving to a new state can be scary and nerve-wracking in itself. Be sure to do some in-depth research on what your graduate school provides and the city surrounding the campus. While doing your research, here are some important questions to consider:
What are the types of resources provided on campus?
Who are the faculty teaching your courses? Do they have online reviews?
Is there an alumni presence on/off campus?
Is there public transportation on or around campus?
If you have a car, can you park on campus? How much are parking permits?
Can you rent required supplies, or do you have to buy them?
Is the program you want to major in ranked well in the country or state?
Does your academic department offer scholarships?
What is the crime rate on and off campus?
Visit the school before deciding to move
Before you commit, it’s wise to visit schools to see if they’re the right fit for you. It’s also beneficial to get familiar with the campus and surrounding areas so you will feel a little less intimidated once you move. Ask area locals or current graduate students for the best areas to visit or and the areas to avoid.
Once you’ve made the decision to move for grad school, you should factor in housing and transportation. While visiting the school it is helpful to take a look at the areas around campus to figure out the neighborhood you’d like to live in during your time in school. Also take into consideration your commute. If you’ll be bringing a car or riding the bus, you may want to plan your housing accordingly.
Once you figure out your living situation, it’s best to find a roommate (if you’ll need one), put a deposit down on your housing, or confirm your plans to stay with family or friends before you make your big move.
Save, save, save
Grad school is not cheap. Try to keep living expenses down and save as much money as you can. Saving money can be hard to do, especially if you are a full time student, but every dollar saved counts. Having some extra money tucked away can really save the day for an unexpected emergency. It also gives you a head start on saving for big things such as a summer trip, car, or future house.
Keep an open mind
As much as you can plan for your move, keep an open mind, as things may not work out exactly as you planned them. Sometimes you just have to “roll with it” and accept what comes your way. This is especially true as roommates can fall through at the last minute, apartments can turn out to not be what they seemed, traffic can be a nightmare on a daily basis, and your classes can be spread out all over campus. The best thing to do is remember why you came to grad school and take it day by day. Remember you’re not alone and so many grad students can relate.