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Graduate Students Explain Why They Picked Their Schools

From a doctoral candidate to an E.M.B.A. student, read how these five picked their graduate schools.

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Graduate school students have myriad reasons for choosing their higher education paths. Here, in their own words, five current students tell U.S. News why they chose to attend their particular graduate schools to pursue their interests:

Why I Picked University of Detroit Mercy School of Law


Meagan Elyse Hanna, third-year J.D. candidate As I was researching law schools, I became overwhelmed when they all started to look the same. Then I visited the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. I was welcomed into the UDM Law family from the moment I walked in the door. The close-knit community of students, faculty, and administrators provides a learning environment I found unparalleled in support and encouragement.

Add to that UDM's commitment to making its graduates "practice ready" through its clinics, law firm program courses, and writing across the curriculum, and I was sold. Thanks to UDM, I'll graduate this year with the confidence I need to compete in the legal job market.

[Read about where the law jobs are now.]

Why I Picked University of Virginia Curry School of Education


Kevin Hessberg, fourth-year Ph.D. candidate After one walk around "Grounds," I was already imagining myself at the University of Virginia. The tradition, beauty, and academic reputation of the university were just a few factors that prompted me to enter the Master of Teaching program at the University of Virginia Curry School of Education. I graduated and taught social studies for several years.

Now I am back, pursuing a doctorate in social studies education. I have stretched myself at U.Va. more than I imagined possible, through challenging coursework and leadership opportunities. Mostly, I picked U.Va. because of the people. With their support I've been able to teach graduate courses and publish research, preparing for a career in higher education.

[Decide if an education graduate degree is right for you.]

Why I Picked Arizona State University's College of Nursing and Health Innovation


Michelle K. Napral, second-year D.N.P. candidate When selecting a school to earn my doctor of nursing practice degree, I didn't want to just learn how to survive in the chaotic healthcare arena. I wanted to acquire skills to be an innovator who positively affects patient outcomes in the fast-paced and changing industry.

Arizona State University's professors combine superior educational materials with effective teaching methods and learner preferences to give each student an experience unlike that of any other program I considered. Arizona State University's College of Nursing and Health Innovation has a learning climate that has ultimately taught me to think differently.

On May 4, 2012, I will proudly graduate from a university that has had a positive impact on all aspects of my life. Having the opportunity to sit poolside in Arizona soaking up some vitamin D while learning from the online program hasn't hurt either.

[See where the medical jobs are now.]

Why I Picked University of Southern California Marshall School of Business


Celeste C. Ortiz, second-year E.M.B.A. candidate and vice president, human resources, Medtronic Diabetes Three things led me to select the E.M.B.A. program at the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business: the highly relevant, theme-based curriculum; the exceptional quality of the professors; and the diverse student population that is characteristic of Los Angeles.

The program moves at a quick pace. The entire faculty has been tremendous, really catering to all of us busy executives. I will leave the program with three things I hadn't anticipated—increased confidence, a broader perspective, and amazing friendships that will last a lifetime. Now I understand why Trojans are so passionate about the USC network; it has already proved to be invaluable. Fight on!

[Get tips and stats on business school and beyond.]

Why I Picked University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering


Rusty Scioscia Jr., first-year M.S. candidate