Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Grad School: Is it the right choice for you?

Written By Lauren Lind


The thought of grad school was never an option I had personally considered given my major; however, now that I am in my final semester of college, the thought of being done with school forever has become slightly terrifying. The real world is fast approaching and I have found that many of my classmates are in the same position. When deciding whether or not grad school is for you right after graduation, there are some factors to consider. Here is some advice that I have found to be useful.

• If you don’t know what you want to do with your life, then you should figure that out and explore different paths before investing in a graduate degree. Work, travel, volunteer, intern, explore your options and realize grad school is dependent upon what career you aspire to get into. Grad school will always be there but some other opportunities may not.

• Talk to people who are currently involved in the job or field that you want to do and ask them if a degree is necessary or matters for that particular job or field. If they say that it is, ask which degree they recommend and seek their advice on when you should go to grad school. If not, ask them what the steps are to get to where they are and do what they are doing.

• Weigh the benefits and costs then decide if you can afford to go to grad school. Consider financial aid, as well as fellowships and grants, and ask graduate programs what they usually offer students. A lot of grad students work part-time while studying, however this may not work for you.

• Ask yourself “How will a higher degree affect my family life? Social life? Finances? Career?” After careful consideration, you might gain more clarity as to whether grad school is in fact for you at this time in your life. 

If you have your heart set on grad school and know it will aid you in your future career and life plans, then go for it! If you are still unsure, review the advice listed above and take some time to consider all your options. You are not alone if you are feeling a little apprehensive about grad school. Remember that you don’t have to go to grad school, depending of course on what it is you want to do with your life. Best of luck with whatever you decide!

Hat tip: idealist.org, Chuck Cohn , and Catherine Alford