What’s a Cohort and why are they so Popular?

By GradCenter | Published on February 28, 2012 | 0 comments

If you’ve been researching graduate programs recently, you’ve likely found programs referencing the term “cohort”. If you’re wondering what exactly they are talking about – rest assured. You’re not alone. By its definition, a cohort is a group of people engaged in a shared set of experiences together. Apply this concept to the learning environment and you’ll start to see some of the benefits of this style.
In a cohort graduate program, students typically begin and end a program at the same time. The program schedule is generally lined out for you. While this may not give you many opportunities to determine your own schedule, the benefit to a cohort schedule is that the program staff and directors have already laid out your classes in an ideal fashion.
The biggest benefit though is through the common learning environment. Cohort systems inevitably have students that report feeling closer and more engaged with their classroom peers. By consistently having class with the same group of students, you develop a deeper sense of community with your fellow students. You may be more likely to rely on them outside of the typical classroom environment, using them to discuss theoretical or practical aspects of your education. This helps you better relate to what you’re learning.
The other substantial benefit to a cohort system is the support that comes from the group. It can be very comforting to know that you’re not the only student trying to balance work, home, school, family and friends. Post-graduation, cohort members also leave their program with an established network of working professionals.
While the cohort system may not be right for everyone – it is certainly a popular trend we’re noticing and something for you to consider in your graduate program search.

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