Deciding if Graduate School is for you

You’re finishing up the last few months of your undergraduate degree, now it is time to decide what’s next. You may be considering graduate school, but not know how to get there from where you are now. If you’re considering further study, it’s best to start thinking about your options as early as possible, usually around 18 months before you’d like to start. However, pay attention to the guidelines given by the school you would like to attend as each has their own set of admission requirements and deadlines. Start by asking yourself some questions to see if this is the right option for you.

Why do I want to go to graduate school? There are many answers to this question. Students choose to go to graduate school for many reasons, including intellectual curiosity and professional advancement. These are great reasons to go to grad school. However, if you are choosing to go because you are unsure of what to do or don’t feel ready for a job, then grad school may not be the best option for you. Graduate school requires an intense commitment of time and money. If you’re not sure you’re ready then it is best to wait.

What are my career goals? Some careers, such as those in law, medicine, and dentistry, require education beyond the bachelor’s degree. Other jobs that may need an advanced degree would be a college professor, researcher, or psychologist.

What will I specialize in? While undergraduate majors are a broad introduction to a field, graduate school degrees are very specialized. For example a grad school degree in psychology requires choosing a specialization such as clinical, research, or development. Consider your interests before moving forward so you have an idea of what you want to specialize in.

Do I have the motivation for another two to seven years of school? Graduate school is different from undergraduate school because it requires a higher level of academic commitment. You must enjoy and excel at reading, writing, and analyzing information, as well as be prepared for the rigorous time commitment.

Do I have the academic and personal qualities to succeed? Generally, it is expected that students maintain at least a 3.0 average during graduate school, as well as meet all attendance requirements.

What are the benefits of a Graduate Degree? There are many benefits to a graduate degree, some include:

  • Financial rewards
  • Intellectual stimulation
  • Prestige
  • Family influence
  • Effecting social change
  • Career flexibility
  • Networking opportunities

Asking yourself these questions should give you an idea of whether or not graduate school is the best option for you. If you have questions about graduate school, or the next steps you should take visit the Career and Professional Development Center in Fels Student Center, Suite 201, during drop in hours. You can also check out the online resources below.

Online Resources:


By Liz DeNoncour
Liz DeNoncour