Graduate school can provide you the opportunity to gain concentrated knowledge and skills in a particular area of study. Programs are specific, classes tend to be smaller and you may even progress through your program with a cohort of other students. Working closely with faculty and gaining practical experience through practicums, internships, teaching and research is highly encouraged; it can set you up for success should you decide to move into the workforce or pursue another graduate degree . It’s a rewarding experience, but it takes a lot of work, time and dedication. You’ll need a lot of support from those who care about you.
Deciding whether or not to attend graduate school can be a challenge in itself, let alone which school or program to choose. Having gone through the process myself, and through other research, I have compiled a list of considerations for you to review:
- Does your desired career path require advanced study?
- Will having an advanced degree help you move up at your company, secure a better job or better pay?
- How much time, money and energy are you able or willing to invest?
- What financial aid, resources and other financial/emotional/etc. support will you have available?
- Where is the motivation for pursuing graduate school coming from: you, society, family, community, etc.?
- Are you motivated enough for another 2-7+ years of school?
- What is the availability of positions and salaries in your desired field?
- How does the cost of the program, or incurred debt, compare to future earning potential and/or ability to pay back loans?
- Are you pursuing grad school because:
- “I want/need to be close(r) to (or farther from) a significant other.”
- “I haven’t found a job yet, and this sounds like the next best option.”
- “There’s no way I could afford to start paying off student loans, so back to school it is!”
- “I like the idea of becoming doctor, lawyer, etc. I could do that? Totally!”
If you want to discuss your plan for attending grad school with a neutral party, contact the Career Center to schedule an appointment with your Career Consultant. We also host various expos throughout the year where you will have the opportunity to meet representatives from graduate and professional programs and schools from across the country. Watch your CometCareers account for the Graduate School Expo (Fall), Law School Expo (Fall), and DFW Health Professions Schools Spring Swing.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jessica Elder began her journey in career services more than five years ago as a graduate assistant in the Career Center at the University of North Texas while earning her Master’s in Higher Education. While at the UT Dallas Career Center, Jessica has served as the Resume Programs Coordinator and most recently as a Career Consultant for JSOM students. You can find her on Twitter (@Jessica_Elder) and in Argentina this summer with students participating in our Internships Abroad program.