Once you graduate college there are so many things that you can do with your new found freedom! The summer before my senior year I was terrified about not having a solid plan after graduation so during the fall semester of my senior year I started looking into graduate programs that interested me. Currently, I’m wrapping up my first year of graduate school and gearing up for a heavy summer course load ahead. There are definitely some pros and cons for going to grad school soon after graduation but before we dive into those, here are a few questions you should ask yourself before you apply.
Six Questions You Should Consider Before Applying to Grad School
1. What are you actually interested in learning?
2. How will going to grad school impact you financially?
3. Can you juggle being a full-time student and possibly work full-time as well? (Remember, the level of expectation goes up tremendously at school and work compared to undergrad)
4. What are your career goals once you have your graduate degree and will going to grad school secure that job for you?
5. Have you considered working in your preferred field prior to pursuing a graduate degree?
6. What’s most important to you in a grad program? (location, length of the program, fieldwork obligations, online or in-person, cost, cohort style or individual, etc.)
If you can answer these questions with confidence in your decision to go to grad school, then you’re off to a great start in preparing for this next step in your life. Keep reading to see what I’ve learned so far as a graduate student!
1. Going to grad school introduces you to a huge network of professionals in your field.
2. Working with like-minded individuals can inspire you to work even harder towards your career goals.
3. Most professors treat you like a potential colleague rather than just a student.
4. Going to school can bring a sense of structure to your life.
5. You’ll dive much deeper into your subject matter than you did in undergrad (which can be a huge plus if you’re interested in what you’re learning).
6. There’s a possibility of getting financial aid (yes, it is possible to have financial aid in grad school outside of loans! Be sure to ask your program about their financial aid options).
7. You become aware of more job opportunities and have access to people that can help you land those positions.
8. Having a masters degree can make you look more competitive in the job market.
1. Being in grad school is very time consuming!! You’ll have to balance school, work, and other obligations.
2. You might find out mid-way through that your degree program isn’t what you want to pursue anymore.
3. It can be expensive if you do not have financial aid outside of loans.
4. A masters degree doesn’t guarantee you the job you want or the salary you’re looking for.
5. Being in grad school could potentially keep you from bigger opportunities and/or commitments while you’re in school due to timing.
I hope these questions and tips helped you with your decision to pursue a graduate degree. Know that everyone’s experiences are different but this is what I’ve learned so far as first year graduate student. At the end of the day hard work, dedication, and passion goes a long way in the workforce and in life in general! Feel free to contact me personally in the ‘Contact’ section if you would like more information on my experience as a graduate student.
Thanks for reading,