Categorized | Grad School

Should You Go To Graduate School

Posted on 24 August 2008

Here are a few things to think about:

  • Can you afford the price tag without going into too much debt?
  • If finances dictate prolonged part-time or night-class enrollment, have you the patience and stamina to follow through?
  • Will the possible increase in future salary garnered through an advanced degree offset the costs incurred?
  • Does any of the above matter given your passion to return to school?

Where to Begin?

College career centers are valuable resources at this stage of your search. For example, they compile fact sheets that can help you assess the school’s success at preparing students for the job market, how many students found employment after graduation, and what they earn. U.S. News & World Report also provides a comprehensive review of Grad Schools with ratings. Visit usnews.com for more information.

Now, or Later?

Many people with undergraduate degrees are entering the job market and putting off the question of graduate school. This sort of delay can work in your favor since many graduate programs value a prospective student with valid work experience. However, sustaining momentum is a critical issue.

Money and How to Get It

Your chances of increased financial aid are greater if you wait to secure all possible offers. A school may be encouraged to raise the ante if they know another has promised a larger package.

How to Apply

You can download applications from most college Web sites, or call the admissions office and request one. Gradschools.com is a site that, among other things, allows you to query several graduate schools and apply online. However, the entire process is likely to be a lengthy one involving research, campus visits and admissions policy restrictions, so plan plenty of wiggle room.

The Dreaded Test

Most programs require them. The good news is that many sources are available to help you prepare, and take the jitters out of the experience. A number of test-prep sites offer assistance for the GRE General Test, the GRE Writing Assessment and the GRE subject tests, which measure achievement in 14 different fields. Barron’s publishes an excellent and thorough guide for navigating your way through these tests, and Kaplan and GRE Powerprep both offer software that provides actual computer diagnostic tests.

Perks

Apart from the value of nuts-and-bolts academic achievement and the promise of a better job, the graduate school experience can clarify and broaden understanding of your deepest priorities, often those yet to be recognized.

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