5. Take on debt . Let’s say you work really hard and get accepted to a top tier program, but without the fellowship support that you need because — silly you! — you’re not rich. You night start thinking, "sure, I’ll have to take on some debt, but it’s a great program and therefore worth it." Wrong! First of all, it’s not like you’re going to be raking in the bucks as a post-grad — even a small amount of debt can be financially debilitating. Second, not getting a fellowship is a powerful signal of lukewarm interest on the part of the school, so you’d already be starting with a strike against you. Unless you’re rich, only attend traditional . programs that offer you full tuition and a stipend.