When deciding whether or not to attend graduate school, you must ask yourself an abundance of questions to determine if it is or is not the right time to continue your education. In my personal reflection on what to do with myself, post undergraduate career, it became blatantly obvious to me that graduate school was the next step I desired for my path. Speaking from experience, there are a variety of factors that contribute to the graduate school decision. However, there are ultimately three questions that need to be asked when pondering the thought.
- What are your aspirations and do you need a graduate degree to accomplish them?
A master’s degree gives individuals a specific set of skills needed to practice in a particular field. Ron Culp, Professional Director at DePaul University’s public relations and advertising graduate program weighs in saying, “Before considering any graduate program, consider whether it will advance your career in both your short and long-term goals.”
- Have you had an internship or work experience in your chosen field?
Seeking a graduate degree doesn’t mean you haven’t worked, however attaining more experience theoretically and through application is a component of the graduate school decision. Part of the curriculum is a higher level of applied training which requires students to be challenged with higher levels of critical thinking. These skills propel students to be more knowledgeable in a specific field and can result in them being sought after by employers for higher-level positions.
- Is the timing right for you?
Graduate school is demanding, requires commitment and costs money. The majority of people pursue their master’s degree while working full-time which can be tough if the individual is in a demanding job, married, has children, etc. Each graduate program is unique so if the timing is right, find one that works with your schedule and is realistic with your life. Another factor to consider is that school costs money but there are plenty of ways to alleviate the burden. Look at all your options whether it is financial aid, scholarships, assistantships or employer tuition assistance. All investments require money but your education is an investment in your future.
Trevor Rayhons is a graduate student at DePaul University and also the 2018-2019 Vice President of Member Services.