There are tons of reasons students choose to attend graduate school after college. When considering whether or not grad school is right for you, it is important to consider the long term effects it can have on your life down the road. While it’s not necessarily an easy decision to make, here are some questions you can ask yourself to help move the process forward.
Do I know what I want to do, and does it require grad school?
If you are planning to go into the fields of medicine, law, psychology, research, or collegiate education, you have to attend some form of graduate school. So, that decision is made for you. If you don’t know what your career path looks like but know you want to spend more time studying and theorizing on a specific topic, graduate school can still be a valid option. Plus, during your time at grad school, you may discover new jobs to which you can apply your degree.
Am I passionate enough to focus on one topic ambitiously for the next few years?
While in graduate school, your studies will be narrowly focused on a single topic of your choosing. You should ask yourself as you apply if you can envision yourself studying the same subject matter and rereading the same terms over and over again. Does this idea excite you or put you to sleep? Yes, you will find nuance within your studies over the next few years at school, but if the fundamental field doesn’t peak your interest now, it won’t stick once you are in school or after you’ve finished.
Will attending graduate school eventually help me earn a higher salary?
Take a look at career options you have with the field of study you are considering. If your goal is to increase your future salary by attending graduate school, make sure you do research on different salaries for your career options. Don’t forget to factor in any student loans you’ll need to pay off. It’s expensive to attend grad school, but if you find it worth it in the long run, go for it!
Am I ready and willing to take on the rigor?
You can always take time off between college and grad school to refuel your batteries before diving into a pool of books and independent research. Be honest with yourself about whether or not you can be the self-motivated and ambitious student graduate schools require.
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