Congratulations! You stuck to it and now you’ve got a college degree! According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 33% of American adults have a Bachelor’s degree or higher, so you should be feeling pretty special. However, some of you might have the urge to go to graduate school. We wrote you something special that we hope will help you with your decision!
Are you ready?
Many people are extremely excited to be done after undergraduate work, and they aren’t too keen on going back to school just yet. Graduate school is a whole different beast than undergrad studies, and it may require much more work than you think. Depending upon your career track, graduate or professional school might be required (i.e. lawyers, physicians, dietitians). For others, it’s okay to enter the “adulting” world without having a graduate degree. Meeting with your advisor, professors, and graduate program directors can help determine if graduate school is a good fit for you.
Is it the right time?
Remember, learning doesn’t just happen at college. We have the ability to learn every single day and challenge ourselves to pursue knowledge on our own time. Maybe it would be wiser for you to move toward developing your professional career by working first and considering graduate school later. The world is a huge place, and it is filled with countless opportunities you don’t even know exist! View everyone you meet as a teacher, and you will be surprised by the amount of knowledge you’ll gain!
Is it financially feasible?
Let’s be real – college is difficult physically, emotionally, and financially. You may have taken out student loans to afford your undergraduate education. Are you able to pay for a graduate degree, too? Depending on your field and aspirations, there may be graduate assistantships offered by the university that can greatly reduce the financial burden of obtaining a graduate degree. However, these assistantships can be extremely difficult to obtain, so be prepared to work for one!
Where do you thrive?
If you’ve already decided that graduate school is right for you, take time to seriously consider where you are applying. Obviously, you will want to consider the academic strengths of the school and faculty, but there are other factors to consider. Some people thrive in atmospheres that are extremely inclusive and founded in teamwork. Others have a more competitive approach, and prefer to be in an environment that is conducive to individual endeavors. It’s also important to consider the location of the school, and the potential costs associated with it. Can you handle hot and humid temperatures? How about intense snowstorms? These are things to keep in mind!
When do you apply?
Every graduate program has its own specific deadline, so pay close attention to the schools that interest you. Nothing is worse than missing out on a great opportunity to attend the institution of your dreams because you missed the application deadline! This also means that you should give yourself ample time to complete the application. If the application requires references, give an adequate amount of time to those who are writing letters of recommendation on your behalf.
We hope this article has given you some things to consider before you apply graduate school. Whether you obtain your master’s degree, PhD, or never set foot in a classroom again, we know that you will do great things! We believe in you!