Applying to grad school is a step many college students and recent graduates alike think about taking. But as good as the payoff may sound, it’s actually not right for everyone.
If applying to grad school is on your mind, you should first ask yourself a few questions. You might end up saving yourself a few years and a lot of money, or you could end up with the degree you already know you want.
Just answer these four questions first.
1. Why Do You Want To Go To Grad School?
The main question to consider is why you’re applying to grad school to begin with. There are a few great reasons to go. They include wanting to delve deeper into a particular subject, helping you get a good job, and improving your standing within your chosen career field.
If your answer to why you’re applying to grad school involves any of these, you’re probably on the right track. Of course, there are also some bad reasons to go to graduate school.
For example, if you’re feeling pressure from other people to go, you might not be happy there. And if you’re doing it to disprove someone’s belief that you can’t, or you’re simply bored and can’t think of anything else to do, there are better, cheaper options than grad school.
2. How Will This Affect Your Future?
Most people apply to grad school because they think it will have a positive effect on their future. For instance, some careers require a graduate degree of some kind, while others just reward it with a better salary.
If this is the case for you, applying to grad school makes sense. But just make sure to do some research to confirm that this is true.
You don’t want to go to graduate school solely to get into your dream career — only to find that you never needed that graduate degree after all, or that there’s no difference in pay now that you have it. Make sure that tuition will be worth it in the long run.
3. How Will You Pay for Grad School?
Speaking of tuition, you should figure out finances before applying to grad school. How will you pay for it? Are you eligible for grants, scholarships or loans? Will your employer reimburse you? Or will you just pay as you go?
This is important to find out before you apply. Otherwise, you could end up facing more debt than you expected, which could be especially shocking if it turns out your graduate degree won’t help you earn more money.
4. Do You Have Time for Grad School Right Now?
Maybe you have a few good reasons to go to grad school, but your schedule is currently pretty packed. Or maybe you can’t afford it right now, but should be able to in the near future. Regardless, keep in mind that you don’t have to go right now.
And if you do put it off for a few years, you might find a job that will pay for you to go to graduate school. You may even want to research companies that are known for doing this, since it could save you a lot of money in the long run.
Prior to applying for grad school, you should ask yourself these questions. It’s the best way to ensure you end up happy with your choice, whatever it may be.