18 FOCUS ON EDUCATION | 2018 | www.advanceweb.com was that she hadn’t “returned to school earlier and didn’t wait until I’m old!” WHY DID YOU ULTIMATELY PICK THE GRAD SCHOOL YOU ATTENDED? As you might expect, these answers often mir- rored the responses to question #1. When those responses varied, almost invariably it was due to financial factors or location. In other words, some people started out look- ing for a school that would allow them to con- centrate on a specific area of practice, or one with a sterling reputation—but the end chose a school close to home, or one that offered the most financial aid. It’s the ultimate ideals vs. reality situation—in a perfect world, we’d like a program that checks off ALL the boxes, but when push comes to shove, some of those boxes become more essential than others. Others, such as Trish S., ignored cost and financial factors altogether in favor of looking for the best online program but later expressed regret over this decision, admitting “I would look at the cost involved. But at the time, online education was limited,” which is clearly not the case in today’s digital environment. Ranae A. on the other hand was very spe- cific when she responded to question #1 by answering that her most important factors in choosing a school were “a strong school of nursing, a well-established specialty, ranking, and faculty recognized in their field.” Asked why she ultimately selected her school, Ranae replied, “It met all the criteria in question #1.” DO YOU FEEL THE GRADUATE SCHOOL YOU CHOSE WAS THE RIGHT DECISION? About two-thirds of our respondents answered affirmative to question #3, and did so primar- ily with one-word answers; usually “yes” but some with a more enthusiastic, “definitely!” or “absolutely!” Responses that offered more detail included: “It was a robust program that gave great interactive opportunities. It allowed me to achieve my goal.” –Jerry B. “It was an RN to MSN bridge program and worked for me and my work schedule.” –Trish S. “I loved both my graduate schools (MSN and Ph.D.) immensely.” –Linda G. IF YOU HAD TO DO IT ALL AGAIN, WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENTLY? Some of these answers were succinct, i.e., “I would choose a different graduate school.” Among those who gave more detail, responses seemed to be evenly split between feeling that the school or program didn’t deliver what it had promised, and the sense that the respon- dent could’ve done more to ensure a positive experience. For example, Linda G., who answered enthusiastically about her positive grad school experience, still wished she had taken the opportunity to publish her work while in school while Jerry B. enjoyed his experience overall but later wished he’d pursued a differ- ent track. Jamie D. said her experience might’ve been GRADUATE  |  FOCUS ON EDUCATION