Why go to graduate school?
PERSONAL SATISFACTION: Learning is a lifelong endeavor. Achieving advanced education is a powerful element to your own sense of self esteem and respect. Meet the personal challenge, satisfy your academic curiosities.
MONEY: An advanced degree usually means a higher annual salary. The National Association of Colleges and Employers Salary Report 2008 indicates people who hold a masters degree earn higher salaries ranging from $2,000 to $10,000 more than bachelor’s degree holders, depending on the industry, discipline and geographic location.
OPTIONS: Holding a masters or doctoral degree means that you have more employment and career options. Advanced degrees give you more knowledge, training and they sharpen your skills in research, writing and critical thinking. In many careers, a masters degree is the minimum educational credential needed.
Are you right for graduate school?
Some hard questions…
Do I really want to continue the academic life for another 2-7 years? Is learning something I crave?
Do I have the ‘intellectual horsepower’ and will power for the rigors of graduate school? In graduate school, you have to figure things out more than ever before, and you are expected to think, write and reason at a much higher level. Think of it this way: What was an A as an undergrad (in your hardest course) will be a C in graduate school.
What will I specialize in? What is my focus of academic pursuit? Unlike being an undergraduate, there is no ‘exploring’ and finding the right major. You need to commit to your discipline from the start.
Will a graduate degree really get me where I want to be, career-wise? Or is grad school my ‘fall back’ position because I can’t find work? If so, you may need to rethink grad school.
Am I ready to put my personal life on hold to pursue this? Graduate study is consuming… massive amounts of reading, writing, researching. You can have fun in graduate school (misery loves company!) but there’s not much time for partying or hanging out.
Am I willing to relocate to go the graduate program I really want?
Can I afford it? Graduate school is more expensive than an undergraduate degree.