Starting the Debate of Graduate School

This semester, our office is doing many new things and carrying out a few new events. We’re very excited that on September 30 we will have Dr. Donald Martin, author of “Road Map for Graduate Study,” here to talk with our students about graduate school and the many decisions that come with it. Throughout the year we will post relevant articles about graduate and professional school considerations, and today is just a general overview courtesy of our friends at Petersons. Petersons is renowned for their undergraduate and graduate school rankings, and many students don’t realize they also post articles regarding factors to consider, application tips, and financial resources. In their article “The Graduate School Decision: Basic Considerations,” they touch on a few of the things a student should take into account when determining if graduate school is the right choice.

According to Petersons, there are eight points to think over while making your decision:
1. Why do you want to go to graduate school? What are your professional goals, and how does graduate school tie in with your success?
2. What do you want to study and where? Are you studying an aspect of your undergraduate degree much more in depth? Or are you trying something new? Do you want to complete your degree in a classroom, or online?
3. Are you willing to be a student in a graduate program? In undergrad, a student is traditionally with fellow students their own age, and with a few things in common. In graduate school, age ranges are across the board, with various life experiences to share.
4. What are the benefits of graduate school? Will you advance in your field? Will you be eligible for higher positions?
5. How far will you need to take your graduate school education? Is a Masters something that is just nice to have in your field, but not required? Or will you eventually need to get a doctorate?
6. Are you ready for competitiveness in graduate school? The application process is very selective, because typically graduate programs are much smaller than undergraduate programs. Even once you are in, you will be required to work harder and do more to get better grades.
7. What will be your workload and lifestyle in graduate school? With this heavier course load, you have to decide if you will be working full time, part time, serving as a graduate assistant on campus, or not working at all. Will you be able to see your family and friends as much?
8. What are the costs of graduate school? What scholarships and awards are available? Will the school accept federal loans? What will your work status be like?

What are other points you feel are important to consider as you decide whether to pursue graduate school? Going to graduate school is a big step professionally, and it is not a decision to be taken lightly. However, almost every student I have talked to that opted to attend graduate school has truly enjoyed their graduate school experience, felt it was worthwhile, and gained a lot of knowledge from their courses!

You can read the full article from Peterson’s here: http://www.petersons.com/graduate-schools/graduate-school-basic-considerations.aspx

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