Prepare for Further Study

Is it the Right Choice for Me?

Unlike the undergraduate experience, which is exploratory in nature, graduate school is a more self-directed study of a particular subject. You should have defined interests, clear career goals, and the self-motivation to make the most of an advanced degree. Some questions to ask yourself before making this commitment are:

  • Is it possible to achieve your career goals without graduate school?
  • Are you passionate enough about the subject to continue studying and producing work in the field?
  • Do you have enough work experience to decide if this is the right career path?
  • What is the employment outlook for your field of interest?
  • Can I afford it?

Is it Worth the Investment?

Attending graduate school will cost time and money. On top of that, consider the following:

  • The cost of tuition and fees does not take into account the cost of living, transportation, or meals, and may also not include textbooks.
  • The full cost of graduate school should also take into account the cost of leaving the workforce for a couple years, as many competitive programs only allow full-time study. 
  • Be mindful that if you attend graduate school without prior full-time work experience, your post-graduate offers will likely be for entry-level work and you may experience a setback in potential earnings.

You should investigate potential funding sources including fellowships or scholarships and teaching assistantships before committing to graduate school.

Choosing a School

You should look closely at the courses offered, the reputation of the faculty, and the employment profile for alumni to determine if a program aligns with your goals. In addition, the environment and geographical location of your program can define your graduate experience so consider the population, weather, cost of living, and cultural and social opportunities of your graduate school. One of our graduate and professional school advisors can help you weigh these factors as you decide which programs to apply to.

Types of Degrees

If you have decided that graduate school is right for you, your next decision should be whether you pursue a master's level degree (MA, MSc, etc.), a doctoral level degree (PhD, EdD, etc.), or a professional degree (JD, MD, MMBS, DO, etc.) The usefulness of the degree depends on your academic and career interests, but note that the higher the degree the longer it will take to achieve and the higher the financial burden.