The decision to go to graduate school is a big one! Graduate school adds value to many undergraduate degrees, and most people will need some type of education beyond their first degree. Most professionals such as lawyers, doctors and teachers require preparation which must occur in professional programs. Many other occupations require graduate education in order to enter management or decision-making roles within organizations. While a graduate degree may offer more chance of higher paid positions, there is no guarantee.
Do your research before you begin. Choose carefully, and for the right reasons.
Good reasons to go to graduate school:
You love your subject area and want to study it in more depth.
You want to be a professor
You feel energized about the idea of more education and intellectual work.
Not so good reasons to go to grad school:
You don’t know what you want to do so it is more comfortable to stay in university.
You don’t feel ready to go to work.
You don’t know how to find a job.
You don’t have any experience so you don’t think you can get a job.
Reasons to work before you go to grad school:
Some grad programs require you to have some experience.
You are not sure what you want to do, so working may help you figure out your career goals. Work gives you a chance to “try on” different roles to ensure that you are in the best field for you.
You will bring valuable practical experience to your graduate education when you do decide to return.
Some employers will pay for your further education, or will provide you with valuable professional development opportunities.
You can begin to pay off your student loans. Financial burdens can be a major source of stress.
You may just need a break from studies; you have been in school since kindergarten!
Questions to ask before you register for graduate school:
Why do I want to go to graduate school?
What are my career goals? Do they require a graduate degree?
Do I have the energy to work even harder, as well as the resources to be a student for several more years? (Seriously consider this especially before embarking on a PhD).
What do I want to specialize in? What are my areas of strong interest?
Where do I want to study? What schools offer the best programs for my interests?