If you’re contemplating getting an advanced degree, you might still be on the fence because of the extra time, money, and energy it will take. However, going to grad school can advance your career and bring a significantly higher income. Before you enroll, it’s wise to ask yourself a few questions first to see if grad school is actually the right move to make. Here is a helpful guide that will hopefully lead you to the right decision.
Look for Your Why
There are many reasons why you might want to go to grad school. As mentioned, it can increase your salary, help you finally get that promotion, and bring your skills up to date. However, you need to ascertain whether an advanced degree will actually help you reach those goals, and whether or not those goals are something you are striving for. Sometimes, certain roles only require an undergraduate degree, and some will prefer that you have more work experience rather than qualifications.
Decide When is the Right Time
Once you have taken a good look at your goals and circumstances, next, you need to decide when is the right time to apply. You have the option of going to grad school straight after undergrad or getting in some work experience before applying. If you decide to go straight after your undergraduate degree, you’re less likely to have other commitments that may get in the way, such as a family or financial obligations. You’ll also still be in the swing of things, and used to studying and taking exams. On the other hand, taking on more debt soon after undergrad school can be crippling.
If you decide to spend some time getting in some work experience before you go, you’ll end up with a better understanding of your field and industry, and a better idea of where you want to end up career-wise. As well as this, you can use the time wisely to save up for your tuition fees. However, you’ll have to factor in the jump from relying on a full paycheck to having to cut down your hours to fit in your studies.
Decide on Your Program
Next, you’ll need to decide what kind of degree would benefit you the most. You may want to go for your master’s or a doctoral degree or look for a combined degree or certificate. Consider whether or not you want to continue working while studying. Note that this is common while working towards a masters degree, but it usually will not work if you opt for a doctorate. You’ll then need to decide which university you want to study with, so it would be a good idea to thoroughly research your options and apply for a prospectus from each school to help make up your mind. When completing your graduate school application, you’ll want to use a service like GradCAS, where you can apply to multiple programs in one go.
Applying for grad school isn’t something you can do on a whim. There are many factors to consider, including whether or not you can afford it, and whether it will provide a worthy return on your investment.