There are many reasons you might be considering graduate school. Two of the most common:
- A graduate degree is required to enter or further your chosen career.
- Candidates entering your career path with a graduate degree will enter at a higher position or salary level.
Many consider pursuing graduate-level studies as a way to further explore academic interests from their undergraduate years, or as a part of the process of finding the ideal career path. It is helpful, however, to have a clear goal in mind when deciding whether to go back to graduate school, rather than simply applying to graduate school because you feel it is expected of you or because you are unsure of your next step in life.
Some questions to ask yourself before you begin the application process are:
- What specific career goal(s) will be furthered by enrolling in graduate study?
- How dedicated am I to the career that I will be working towards, and/or to the academic work I will be pursuing, if I go to graduate school?
- What educational level do I need/want to attain – Master’s, Ph.D.?
- Am I looking for a traditional program or a part-time program that will allow me to continue working?
- How important is it to receive a degree from a prestigious program or institution?
- Am I willing to relocate to attend graduate school?
- How will I fund my education?
- How long will my degree take to complete?
You should research programs in your field to find out which are the most highly regarded, and what opportunities particular programs will offer; the “big name” school programs may not offer what you are looking for. When deciding where to apply, consider your own strengths and weaknesses as an applicant for a reasonable assessment of where you are likely to be accepted. Talking to undergraduate professors or professional colleagues who know you (and your chosen field) well is a great place to start for this kind of assessment. It will also be important to line up letters of recommendation from professors or supervisors who know you well.
A great place to start the process is our Grad School Admissions Tip of the Week, which will give you information on the different parts of the process. In addition, if you want personalized, one-on-one application assistance, check out our Graduate School Admissions Counseling program--we can help you get to where you want to go!
Have a question about applying to grad school you'd like us to answer? Send us an email!