Considering Graduate School: Should I Go?

Deciding whether or not to attend graduate school? Use this resource to weigh your options.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Why do I want to go to graduate school?
  • Why am I interested in graduate school right now?
  • What kind of degree do I want?
  • Will doing this help me get promoted or make more money?
  • How will graduate school impact my career path?
  • Is it necessary to get a graduate degree to accomplish my goals?
  • How much will graduate school cost me?
  • How I will pay for an advanced degree?
  • Do I know if this is a realistic goal on my timeline?
  • Can I complete all the required testing and application materials in the time I have?

Consider your motivation
Why do you want to go? Is it to make more money, change career paths, specialize in your field, or for some other reason? Sometimes, an advanced degree will help you meet your goals, but often, it will have a negligible impact, and in some cases, can be a detriment to your potential career. If you aren’t sure why you want to go to graduate school, feel lost, concerned about current economic circumstances, or your ability to get a job, grad school is an expensive way to figure things out.

Consider your field
Do you need an advanced degree to do what you want to do? While there are some professions that require an advanced degree, in others, the gain of a graduate degree will be less clear. It’s important to research whether an advanced degree is required for the industries and job titles you are seeking. Browse job boards for the titles you’re seeking and note if those positions require candidates to have a master’s or PhD. Consider interviewing professionals in your field to see how a graduate degree impacted their career to make sure the program you are
considering will help you meet your desired outcomes.

Consider the expense
Graduate school is expensive; it can cost anywhere between $30-100K to complete an advanced degree. While many PhD programs offer stipends and other funding, many masters programs offer little to no financial assistance. Have you considered how you will pay for this? Will you be able to pay off the student loan debt you incur with the positions that will be available to you after you complete this degree?

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