Many junior and senior college students grapple with the question of graduate school. Should I go? Will it be worth it? It is impossible to see into the future unless you have a really reliable crystal ball. So, trying to figure out if graduate school will make your life better in the long run will be stressful because it is hard to tell what the future holds. Instead, ask yourself the questions below to clarify if grad school is the right choice for you right now.
Am I stalling because I don’t want to make a career decision?
Many students dread graduating and jumping head-first into a new job. That abrupt transition can certainly be rough, but graduate school should not be your way of side-stepping the real world. If anything, graduate school should be a means of solidifying a career field for you. If you think you would use grad school to stall making any big career choices, it may not be for you.
Am I considering grad school because all my friends are considering it, or is this something I want?
It’s hard not to feel pressure to apply to graduate school if everyone else in your department or circle of friends is doing it. You may feel a sense of competition because getting into graduate school is like a badge of honor. However, you must ask yourself if this is something you want for yourself or if you are just wrapped up in the hype. Picture yourself at grad school – does that make you excited or nervous? Do you dread it before you’ve even applied? Be in touch with your true feelings on the subject.
Do I have the time, money, and energy to go to grad school today?
Graduate school is nothing if not expensive and time consuming. Yes, it is definitely rewarding, too! But, if you know you have student loans from college you’ll need to pay and are just plain tired of being a student, think about taking some time off from school before you consider graduate programs.
Will a year or two in the work force be a better step for me?
Many students opt for a year or two working at a job or traveling before applying to graduate school. This is a terrific idea if you are uncertain whether or not you want to study intensely for several years right out of college. Another positive effect of taking this time off is that you’ll gain experience that may improve your grad school application and the chances that you’ll get accepted.
Since you can’t see into the future, listen to yourself today. Take your time asking yourself these questions and the right choice will come to you.
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