Considering Graduate School? Answer These Five Questions Before You Decide

Deciding to seek one or more graduate degrees is a major commitment of time and money; a decision not to take lightly. You will face several years of intense work and research — a much more demanding course load than in your undergraduate program. Before deciding your next step, you should take the time to honestly answer these five questions.

Why are you considering a graduate degree?
Career Goal: You need to have a clear understanding of what you want to do with your career — and how earning a graduate degree will help you reach that goal. If you have any doubts about your professional goals, consider putting off graduate school and, instead, work on some self-assessment and career planning.

Career Change: A graduate degree can often make sense for a job-seeker who is looking to make a career change, In this case, you would be earning the graduate degree in the field you plan to enter.

When should you consider obtaining a graduate degree?
One of the questions most often debated is when is the best time to consider a graduate degree. Is it better to attend graduate school right after you complete your bachelor’s degree, or is it better to wait a few years and gain some work/life experience first. As mentioned above, certainly do not consider going immediately to graduate school as a default move — or to avoid getting a job.

What is the best graduate degree for you?
There are two traditional categories of graduate degrees — master’s and doctoral — although there are also numerous hybrid combined-degree and certificate programs at many universities. Which one is more beneficial to your future?

What is the best graduate school/program for you?
Just as important a decision as whether to go to graduate school is the decision of where to go to graduate school. In fact, some experts say your choice of a graduate school is much more important than your choice of an undergraduate school.

. Can you afford graduate school?
Just as with your undergraduate college, it is crucial to look at the costs of the various graduate programs that interest you and determine what mix of financial aid will make attending the programs feasible. It’s best to study the literature each school sends you and then talk with a financial aid adviser at those schools that interest you.

Other Resources Related to Graduate School:
Gradschools.com. An online directory of 18,000 graduate and post-graduate programs worldwide including descriptions, contact information, and institutional advertising. Also includes chapters from The Grad School Handbook.

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5 Responses

  1. great and crucial questions.

  2. […] If you are thinking about graduate school, please read the post at Grad Pit Stop before you do anything […]

  3. Nice list. I wish I had considered it before I took the plunge. I really regret going to graduate school.

    • I’m sorry to hear that, I hope that despite your regret you’ve found a way to make the best out of the situation…

      • Grad school basically demoralized me. I didn’t even last the full academic year. Not saying it was a total loss, but the recovery has been difficult, and I’m having trouble getting my confidence back in anything I attempt in life.

        The good thing that came out of it was the fact it showed me just how miserable I would have been had I stayed in the education business, and that I really needed to live out my real dream, so in reality, it wasn’t a total loss.

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