Not sure if you’re willing to take the plunge into the world of graduate school? It’s true, attending graduate school isn’t for everyone. However, there are many great reasons to apply to graduate school and earn a masters degree or Ph.D. But before you make that weighty decision, there are certain things about yourself, especially regarding your career, that you should consider.
Some undergraduate students who do not know what to do with their lives often think that graduate school will guide them toward their answer. This is a mistake because graduate school is only for the focused, self-directed individual who has a clear idea of what they want to do in their career. You must know what you want to do with the masters degree or Ph.D. which you are seeking because unlike in undergraduate school, all of your classes will be specifically focused on your major.
The successful graduate student has the following qualities:
- Enthusiasm and passion for the subject
- Excellent time management skills
- Critical and analytical thinking skills
- Hardworking and motivated
A Few Good Reasons to Attend Graduate School
There are some careers that will only hire those with a masters degree or Ph.D. for entry-level positions, such as engineers and psychologists. These individuals are the most obvious choices for graduate programs because they probably have known that they are going to attend graduate school since they started college. Most likely, they have mapped out a clear course schedule that provides them with the necessary knowledge to perform research and write their dissertation in graduate school. If you are among this group, consider yourself lucky.
For those whose career doesn’t require a graduate degree, completing graduate studies may still help with your career. People who are already working in a field that they are passionate about, but are tiring of their current position’s responsibilities should consider earning a graduate degree that will allot them the skills to climb up their career ladder.
Both aspiring teachers and practicing teachers can benefit from getting a graduate degree. A masters degree in teaching is for aspiring teachers who hold a bachelors degree in arts and humanities such as English, music, or theater or a bachelors degree in science or math. These programs have specialized focus in elementary, special education or secondary school. A masters degree in education is for applicants who have a bachelors degree and full-time teaching position. This graduate degree leads students towards a career in education administration, or other specialty such as English language learners or instructional technology.
Questions to Answer Before Applying to Graduate School
- Will you fit into the location of your prospective graduate school? If your graduate school is in an area that you are unfamiliar with, and you will have to relocate, take the time to check out the community. Visit the campus, but also investigate the neighborhoods, coffee shops, library, or any other place that you will be frequenting while pursing your masters degree or Ph.D.
- What job placement services does the graduate school have? Most people attend graduate school to advance in their careers, and some will need help narrowing down their options and finding companies that are hiring. If you are in this situation, it is crucial to have a job placement service at your graduate school dedicated to helping you succeed.
- What is the cost and how much financial assistance can you receive? Beyond the tuition expenses, you need to know the average cost of extra supplies. In addition, finding out how much aid and assistance you will receive can help you compare graduate schools.
- What is the size and category of the institution? All graduate schools are structured differently. Some graduate schools are small and intimate, others are large and impersonal. The same goes for the class size, although many graduate programs tend to offer smaller class sizes that provide focused individual attention. Also determine if the school is religious-affiliated, or some other type of specialty school, as this will most likely effect the curriculum.
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