Is Graduate School Right For Me?
Deciding to go to graduate school is an important decision that should not be taken lightly. Graduate school is a tremendous investment of time, energy, and financial resources. Talk to someone whose opinion you value; your advisor, a career consultant, or friends and family. Here are some reasons to go, and some reasons not to go.
- Your career interests require an advanced degree.
- You have a passionate interest in a subject area.
- You enjoy research and in-depth study.
- You are looking for career advancement.
- You want to avoid the job search and entering the world of work.
- You aren’t sure what you want to do with your life.
- You are trying to please someone else.
Researching Grad School
Once you’ve made the decision that graduate school is right for you, it’s time to investigate the programs that will meet your requirements. Factors to consider are cost, location, application requirements, faculty, length of time to complete, and graduate assistantships, among others.
It’s important to speak to your academic advisor or faculty whose opinions you value. Find out what they think are strong graduate programs and begin your research there. If your graduate degree will lead you to a career in industry, talk to someone who does the work you want to do and get their opinion on graduate programs. Some companies pay for a portion of your graduate degree as part of your benefits package.
To locate universities that offer graduate study in your field of interest, visit Petersons.com, a good site to conduct research about graduate programs.
Learning about graduate programs
Applying to Grad School
The Application Process
Create a timeline that will keep you on track. It might look like this:
Junior year of college:
- Gather information about degree programs.
- Contact schools you are interested in and visit them.
- Prepare for graduate examinations if you are required to take them.
Senior year of college
- Contact professors who know you well and ask for letters of recommendation.
- Visit Interfolio.com for information about credential services
- Learn about writing letters of application, and have those letters reviewed by the Writing Center or Career Services.
- Gather application materials and know when application deadlines occur. Consider enrolling in a “grad exam prep course”.
- Visit the colleges that interest you.
- Learn about Graduate Assistantships or Teaching Assistantships as means of paying for your graduate degree and gaining experience at the same time.