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Why attend? It may be because you want to learn more about a subject area or because you recognize the need to earn an advanced degree in order to enter a particular field. Attending grad school is a tremendous commitment of time, hard work, and money. Financial resources can be difficult to obtain and the ultimate career "pay-off" uncertain. However, graduate education provides you with a great deal of intellectual and personal satisfaction and challenge. It can lead to increased employment opportunities, greater financial earnings and gratification in your work.
Go to graduate school for reasons of your own, not because someone else expects it of you!
Ask yourself the following questions and listen carefully to your answers:
- Am I excited about writing and research and learning?
- Am I looking at entering grad school as a way to avoid looking for a job?
- Would I have a better idea about further education in this field if I got some
- work experience first?
What to study? Think about your career objectives and goals. What type of work do you want to do after graduation? Explore career opportunities that will be available to you at each level of education. Before you start searching for graduate programs, it may be a good idea to review your values, interests, skills and accomplishments. The staff in the Career Center can help with this process. The more you know about yourself and the more you understand what you want from the graduate school experience, the easier it will be to identify programs that are right for you!
Work experience. Some graduate programs require that you have professional work experience before they will accept you. In these situations, employer recommendations and the type of work experience you’ve gained can compensate for a weak GPA. Other programs prefer students attend right after earning their bachelor’s degree. Your research will help you determine the differences in programs.
Financing. Colleges and universities tend to offer financial assistance based on merit rather than need. There are fellowships, teaching and research assistantships in virtually all areas of study. Most students who attend graduate school will probably have to borrow money from some source. Although this can be viewed as an investment in your own future, students who have borrowed significant money to finance their undergraduate education are often reluctant to take on additional loans. Only you can determine if the circumstances are right for you to make the investment.