Considering Grad School?
At some point you must decide what you want to do after your college graduation. For many, full-time employment is the preferred route. For some, their intended profession will require further education. For others, they may wonder if graduate school is right for them. Here are a few pointers to help you make your decision.
Should I consider graduate school?
Graduate school may be the right option if you:
- want to work in a profession that requires education beyond a Bachelor's degree
- wish to further specialize in a field of study for career advancement
- are interested in a particular area that's not related to your major in college
- have the resources to devote to further education (i.e. time, money, motivation)
Graduate school might not be the right option if you:
- are trying to delay your entry into the "real world"
- don't know what your career goals are
- don't have the sincere interest of pursing an advanced degree
When is the best time to pursue graduate school?
Oftentimes, it is best to get some “real world” experience before you pursue graduate school; however, you may want to consider graduate school after college graduation if:
- you are absolutely sure about your career and need a graduate degree to pursue a job in that field
- you have been awarded grants, scholarships, or graduate assistantships that will defray the cost of graduate school
- you are highly motivated to continue with the level of dedication that graduate school requires
How will I pay for graduate school?
There are a variety of options available to assist with graduate school expenses:
- Student Loans: the Financial Aid Office can assist you with loan options
- Fellowships/Scholarships: a high grade point average and high scores on entrance exams are usually required to qualify for these opportunities (in addition to an application process)
- Graduate Assistantships: options may include teaching, research, or administrative positions; some schools may offer tuition waivers in addition to a monthly stipend
- Employer Sponsorships: some employers will pay (or reimburse you) for your continued education; if you are currently employed, check to see if your employer offers this benefit
Full-time vs. part-time: Is one option better than the other?
Consider full-time if:
- you want to complete your degree sooner
- you can dedicate yourself 100% (time, energy, other resources) to your education
- you want to make a quick, dramatic career change
Consider part-time if:
- you can manage a course load in addition to your career
- your current income helps defray graduate school expenses
- your current employer will pay a portion of your graduate school expenses
What steps do I take if graduate school is right for me?
- assess your strengths, interests, and values to decide what major/degree is right for you
- research potential schools that offer programs that interest you
- create a timeline for application materials and entrance exams
- identify creative ways to finance your degree
- ask professors, advisors, and supervisors to serve as references
- write a statement of intent in preparation for the application process
- apply to desired graduate schools