Deciding on Graduate School
Many freshmen enter college with the idea they will eventually go to graduate school. Very few students can make a wise decision that soon about something they will do in four years. By the time you are a junior in college, you’ll have a better idea of whether graduate school is a good option for you.
Here are good reasons to go to graduate school:
- You have a genuine passion for the subject matter of your graduate studies.
- The career path you have chosen requires an advanced degree.
- Graduate school will move your earnings prospects to a much higher level.
- You realize that you have some personal weaknesses which graduate school will help develop.
Not a good choice includes:
- You can’t find a job, and you decide to stay in school longer. The reality is that a graduate degree is not a guarantee for a good job.
- You are not ready to get a job. What makes you think graduate school will make you more ready?
- You are waiting for someone else to graduate – generally a boyfriend or girlfriend. That’s a very expensive date when you consider the lost wages.
Should you decide to go to graduate school, you should only do so if you can finance this yourself. If your graduate program really wants you, you should be able to get a research or teaching assistanceship. You can also get a job on campus as an RA, advisor, or similar position. In many cases, these positions will pay for your tuition. If you are going to have to pay for your own graduate education, you should think long and hard about whether the investment is worth it.
It’s generally unwise to pursue your graduate degree where you did your undergraduate work. If you are truly serious about graduate school, you should be willing to apply to other schools and accept the discomfort of starting over again at a new school. If you are unwilling to do this, then maybe you aren’t that committed to graduate school.
Graduate school can be exhausting. By the end of your senior year in college you may not be ready to undertake such a challenge. But once you are out of school and earning a living, you might not be able to go back to school.
Deciding on graduate school is an area where a mentor can be an immense help. You really need the advice of someone who has your best interest at heart..