Graduate School Prep
Why Consider Graduate School?
While in some fields an advanced degree is required and/or will increase your marketability, in others additional work experience is more relevant. Since graduate school is self-directed in nature, students who are self-motivated and have clear goals will more likely be successful in completing a graduate program.
Can you commit to a career field?
Are you interested in attending graduate school but are unable to select a degree program? You will want to spend some time clarifying your interests before completing your undergraduate program. Meet with a career counselor, talk with faculty members, and consider an internship in your field of interest. You may also want to consider gaining a year or two of work experience to help focus your goals.
Is graduate study worth the investment?
Investigate the employment outlook for your field of interest and talk with professionals and current graduate students about the benefits and potential drawbacks of that path.
Can you live the student lifestyle for a few more years?
A full-time Master's degree will typically take two years to complete, while Ph.D. and some professional degrees require three or more years. Part-time enrollment will require additional time and may even be discouraged in some programs. During this time period you will focus intensely on your academic subjects and typically forfeit a competitive salary, workday routine and leisure time.
Can you manage the financial commitment?
Ultimately you will need to decide if graduate school is of value and worth the investment. Before making that decision, you should investigate potential funding sources. Fellowships or scholarships may be awarded by universities as well as outside organizations. Institution-based aid most frequently takes the form of a graduate assistantship where students work part-time in exchange for a stipend and tuition reimbursement.