Study Like A SuperHero

Study Like a Superhero!

  • Track your strengths and weaknesses
  • Study only what you really need. Anytime. Anywhere
  • Learn from expert tutors who are just a phone call away

Join over 172,586 students who are studying the smart way!

Attending graduate school entails a large commitment. This is not like a bachelor’s program where you might be looking for a holistic degree that requires you to take several electives to keep you well-rounded. Grad school tends to focus on developing a specific career path. The intensity of the classes and the academic environment speak to this idea. 

With that in mind, before you decide on the program you want to enrol in, there are many questions you will want to ask yourself:

Do You Really Need a Graduate Degree?

Do you really need a graduate degree to be successful in your chosen profession? Before embarking on a program that will likely be taxing (financially and with the amount of your time it consumes), it’s crucial to assess this question truly. 

  • Do you have a clear career path? Again, grad school is for those focused on a specific vision of their professional future. If you are still trying to decide your next move, you may need more research and self-assessment before going to grad school.
  • Can you achieve the same level of education with certificate programs? Suppose your goal is purely instructional, and you do not require a further degree or any other opportunities that graduate school affords you. In that case, it is time to look into certificates or professional development courses.

Is This The Right Time? 

There are several factors to weigh, both personally and professionally, to ensure that you are in the right place for graduate school. Some things to assess include: 

  • Family obligations: Make sure to realistically discuss with a spouse, partner, and other family members what the commitment will be like. There are likely aspects of your life that will change drastically, and you will need others to help you pick up the slack. Do you have childcare in a place where you need it? Will you be financially solvent? Are elderly relatives being taken care of? If the timing is just not right for your life, you will want to wait until you can responsibly attend grad school.
  • Professional obligations: Can you take the necessary time from your work (or your career path) right now to attend school? For example, if you are a nurse who wants further your education, research whether a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) would be most appropriate. Suppose you are considering going into a program that allows you to assist your current company in some way; you may want to speak with your boss about your thoughts on grad school. Some workplaces are very encouraging about added education and will subsidize grad school or at least make time allowances for employees so that they can retain their position while attending school. 
  • The right academic timing: Do some research to see when most of your peers received a grad degree. There might be a good reason if they waited five or six years before getting a degree. Some elite business programs, for example, may have this as a tacit requirement for admission. For example, the average age of an applicant to Harvard Business School is 27, with 54 months of professional experience. If you want to get into this level of a program, you’ll want to weigh your chances against those with at least that much experience. 

Have You Researched Different Programs?

The prospect of graduate school can be exciting and make people want to apply right away, but the process of searching for the best degree program should be a long and measured one. 

Some ways to think about the grad school research process include: 

  • When to start: You will want enough time to engage with the programs you are considering. This usually means a timeline of at least nine months before application. A year would be even better. This allows you to prepare fully and find your best program. 
  • Types of colleges: Can you get your degree online rather than in person? Is an online academic environment one in which you will thrive? Some people are more self-motivated than others, and if you do not have the best time management skills, then an online college may not be the best choice for you. 
  • Courses available: Are you going to school to be a doctor? Or are you going to school to be a lawyer? Your career goals will play a large role in what degree program you choose. Make sure the program you are interested in has the courses you need to succeed in your professional career. 
  • Look for practical hands-on training: Another important aspect of graduate school is access to professional-level opportunities. Most grad programs offer practical training in the professional world that includes shadowing, interning, or participating in low-level field placements in return for the education that can only come with experience. Look into particular schools’ relationships with companies or organizations you would like to work with and try to exploit those partnerships toward leveraging a career after graduation.  
  • Do your research: Some of the most crucial parts of the grad school experience include making connections with faculty that can help you progress professionally and gain practical experience while still in an academic program. You will want to research which programs have relationships with professional development programs that appeal to you and which have professors that can help you advance your career. 
  • Networking: Another one of the most important aspects of grad school is the peer and alumni network. These are the people that will be your collaborators, champions, and friends. Before choosing a school, check out the current network and what graduates have accomplished to see if these look like a group you want to join. 
  • Visit campus: If you choose an in-person program, you will want to visit as many campuses as possible. Take tours, and talk to relevant faculty and current students to assess if this place is right for you. 

Taking all this into account will help you get precise and systematic about how you choose the best grad school path (if you choose to go). Looking for an easy way to visualize this information? Check out this flowchart that paints an excellent picture of how to consider your grad school readiness.

how to choose a grad school

2 Comments to “Is Grad School Right For You? (2020 Guide)”

  1. Robert Johnson says: Reply to Robert

    very interesting , good job and thanks for sharing such a good information

  2. Robert Johnson says: Reply to Robert

    Great blog!!! I really enjoy reading this blog. Thanks for sharing this

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.