Applying to graduate school can often feel like you are running through a maze. Having the right information to guide you through the process can ease your frustration and help you get into graduate school. Is graduate school right for everyone? The answer is surely NO.
Is graduate school right for you? Only you can determine if it will be the right decision for you. Graduate school is expensive and time-consuming. Graduate students often undergo many obstacles during their program of study and need to stay focused and self-motivated for long periods of time.
On a positive note, it can also provide you with deep satisfaction and career advancement. If you are committed to completing your graduate or professional degree, then take the time to assess your reasons for going to graduate school. Ask yourself the following questions:
At this time in my life, can I commit to several years of additional study?
Knowing that graduate and professional degrees can take anywhere from 2-7 years to complete, can you stay motivated for that length of time. How will it affect other areas of your life such as family, finances and health?
Will an advanced degree help me to achieve my professional and career goals?
Some professions such as medicine, law and research require an advanced degree but not all professions do unless you want to eventually teach at a college or university. The clearer you are about your career plans, goals and interests, the easier it will be to decide if an advanced degree is right for you.
What would I like to specialize in?
If you are unsure about what you would like to specialize in, take some time to volunteer and/or research possible careers or jobs that interest you. There are many gap year opportunities if you would like to travel, study or volunteer abroad.
Graduate study should not be taken lightly. The best way to make a good decision is to consult with a variety of resources including faculty, family, friends, school advisers and by conducting informational interviews.
Graduate School Resources:
Peterson’s Graduate Planner-Offers advice on graduate planning and creating a time line, finding a graduate school and graduate programs
Graduate Forum– Offers helpful advice on all topics related to graduate study. Search for advice or post questions related to graduate study.
GradSchools-Search from over 60, 000 graduate schools and programs. Search by field of study, graduate school or location. Includes local and international schools and programs.
The Princeton Review-Test preparation information on GMAT, LSAT, MCAT, GRE, TOEFL, USMLE and more.
Graduate School Checklist and Timeline-Offers step-by-step advice on applying for graduate schools.
Statement of Purpose – Advice and guidelines on writing a statement of purpose from the U of C Berkley Career Center.