Today I wanted to touch a little on the decision about whether to go to Grad School or not to.
First, let me begin by saying I myself am not yet decided on whether to go. It's a big deal, just like undergrad college is a big deal, and it's a lot more money. There's a big decision to make between trying to go it alone and try to begin a career or at least find a job, or to go to grad school.
Let me also say that it's fully do-able to both begin a career and work on Grad school, but keep in mind that it will take you longer to finish a Master's or a Doctorate if you are also working full time, and it's also going to be very very stressful trying to do both. This is my dilemma.
Let's weigh some pros and cons of Grad school:
- Sometimes, you HAVE to. If you want to follow a certain field or career path, sometimes you have no other choice. For example, if you want to be a Doctor you'll never EVER get away with a Bachelor's degree. If you want to be a Lawyer you have to go to Law school AFTER obtaining a Bachelor's. If you want to truly be successful at certain fields, a Master's or a Doctorate is the only option you have.
- More money. Often, in times when the economy is not in a recession like it is now, having an advanced degree will land you more money. It also opens the door for more opportunity, because years spent working towards a Master's or Doctorate is almost always substituted for work experience.
- You just love learning. It's ok to admit to it too! Some people just love being in school, and continuing your education is a great way to keep your brain working.
- Money. Grad school can cost a lot of money. Sometimes, it's even double what you pay for Undergrad, and it's half as long. Saving up could take you a long time, but could also give you time to make sure it's really what you want to do. Student loans are also an option, but remember that loans accrue interest and must be paid back within a time period or there are some serious consequences.
- Some career fields don't require that you have an advanced degree. It depends on where you want to go in life. I know you can always change your mind, but by the time you are debating between whether to keep going or not you should have a pretty good idea of what you want to do...so check and make sure that it's even necessary.
- You don't know what to do. Grad school is absolutely NOT the place to go to figure out what you want to do. You spent 4 years getting a Bachelor's. You should have gotten that out of your system, and chosen a path. If you still don't know what to do, there is no sense in spending money and time trying to figure it out. Figure it out on your own time, and try out different things, but you go to Grad school because you know what you want to do for sure and you know what it takes to do it.
These are just a few of the many debatable options about Grad school. Time, money, motivation, and travel are all things to consider when applying or thinking about applying. Keep in mind also, that just like applying to your Undergrad school, that most of the time you have to pay to submit applications to schools, so save up. Also, you MUST MUST MUST take the GRE before applying for Grad school. Just like you took the SAT or the ACT for Undergrad, the GRE is your key to Grad School. You can take the GRE as many times as you want, but remember: the more times you take it and dislike your score, the more it goes on record. Also, the schools you apply to can see how many times you've taken the test, and as the number goes up, you appeal as a student may go down :-( So STUDY!! My suggestion would be to study. STUDY long and hard, for months even, and give yourself plenty of time and take plenty of practice tests. The more you study the likelihood of you receiving a score you are pleased with is higher.
Here are some links to check out:
FAFSA (the student aid form you have to submit to receive loans): http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/