Why Consider Graduate School?

You are asking your self, “why should I consider going to graduate school?” Why pursue graduate study? Isis graduate school for me? Which graduate school is right for me? What graduate program is right for me? These are just some of the questions that may be going through your mind as you contemplate your options for your academic and professional future. You may still be in your undergraduate program and trying to decide what next. You might already be working in your career and want to continue on with your graduate education.

Still, you might be looking at changing careers all together. Therefore, deciding whether to go to grad school is probably one of the biggest decisions you will make, so it should be an informed one. Some reasons for considering gradate school include the following. Note that is not an exhaustive list, but is a good start to why many people make the decision they do when asking themselves, why graduate school?

  • You are looking to change careers or professions
  • You are currently out of the work force
  • You want a better income
  • You want to work in higher education
  • You have not yet decided what direction your career will take
  • You need graduate education in order to grow in your profession
  • You just enjoy learning!
  • You just want to learn more!
  • You love being in a college environment
  • You enjoy the social interaction with academics
  • You love research
  • You are not ready to leave college
  • You are looking for certification or licensure in your profession

If you are employed full time, it might be a tough choice as to whether to give up your full time income to attend grad school. Alternatively you might, like many students decide to juggle your time between work and school. In most cases, people who are working full time choose to take part time classes, or they decide to pursue online options. Many graduate schools are willing to work with students who are weighing this option.

Something else to think about is the expense of choosing a grad school and attending graduate school. While in the future you will likely earn more from graduating with your masters or PhD degree, graduate school is expensive and funding may not be readily available. Also keep in mind that grad school is time consuming. You need to dedicate anywhere from two to five years at a minimum depending on whether you are enrolling in a masters, PhD, professional degree program, and whether you will be attending part time or full time.

While we present some issues to think about here, only you can decide why graduate school may be an option for you, but these questions may help stimulate your thought process:

  • Is it possible that grad school can be priority for you? At least for the time that you plan to dedicate?
  • Do you have a compelling reason to go this route? See the list above
  • Are you able to stay focused and dedicated when everything seems so overwhelming and demanding?
  • Are your study skills, research skills, writing skills and time management skills something you are proud of? If you enjoy these, then you will probably have an easier time managing the demands of graduate school. In graduate school expectations are different from undergrad as you probably already know.
  • Are you in a financial position to take on the cost of grad school? Can you afford to live as a student for a while? Are you willing to spend some of your post graduation income paying off school loans if you take out loans?

If you can comfortably answer “yes” to this question, you may already have answered the question “Why graduate school” and may be ready to take the next step, which is applying to graduate school. Otherwise, you might need to spend a bit more time rethinking your options and rationale for attending grad school.