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Seven Tips For Successfully Completing Your Masters Degrees

Congratulations! You have been accepted to the program of your choice! You future looks bright! But what will it take to successfully complete your master's degree? Let us break this down into eight important steps. But heading back to school can be a long-term commitment, and often entails months and months of effort. There are some things you can do to make your time in school more worthwhile, rewarding, and expedited.

Step 1: Create a Program of study early in your program. Many masters programs required at least 36 credit hours but double check with your university. Most schools will also have a program of study available for you to fill out. Be sure to also take at least the minimum number of credit hours or some programs may automatically drop your enrollment thinking you have elected to discontinue. Look at the projected course offerings so that you can plan ahead.

Step 2. Complete your course work. And plan your course load carefully! Don't take on more than you think you can handle. Your advisor will be there to assist you in the course of the program. It is good practice to meet with your advisor at least once each term to examine your progress and to plan ahead.

Step 3: Choose a committee if it your program requires a thesis, or a master's research project. The committee will guide you in completing your program successfully.

Step 4: Learn more about your new career: While in the program, learn more about the new profession or career you will be embarking on. This could be in the form of internships, research assistant, through your courses, or conducting your own research.

Step 5: Write and defend a thesis. This is where your committee will work with you to develop a quality product. It's a challenging task but also one that is rewarding. Start out by outlining your proposed topic, methods, theory, and procedures for the completing the thesis. Some programs may require you to write a comprehensive exam in lieu of or in addition to the thesis. Be sure to study for that as well.

Step 6: Start looking at job postings. Prepare your portfolio, which can include your resume, artifacts, credentials and other examples that showcase your best self. It is never to early to start looking. Keep a list of potential jobs and ensure that you are receiving the skills and knowledge from your program. Don't wait till after graduation to start applying for jobs. After all, that's why you started the master's degree, right?

Step 7: Apply for graduation. At some point during your program of study, apply for graduation. Be sure to check the deadlines. Some come up very early in the program, and you certainly do not want to miss that.

Some options to consider are accelerated and online programs options that are especially important for adults with families and jobs, non-traditional scheduling, possibility of transferring credits. Although completing your degree quickly may be important to you, be sure to check the quality of the school you are planning to attend. Be sure it is accredited. At the end of the journey, there soon will be a light at the end of the tunnel!

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Community Calendar Jan. 4

Community Events • Now-Feb. 15 — Affordable Care Act open enrollment at the Faulkner County Library, 1900 Tyler St., from 10 a.m. To 3 p.m. Mondays, and 2-5 p.m. Thursdays. Excluding holidays, she will be available from 10 a.m. To 3 p.m. On Tuesdays, Nov. 25, Dec. 23, and Dec. 30. Please bring identification, income verification, household size, Social Security Numbers (family members), and …

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