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Graduate School

​Is Graduate School Right For You?

Pursuing an advanced degree is a commitment in terms of time, money, and hard work. Decide if graduate school meets your career goals by asking yourself the following questions.
  • What is your career goal?
  • Does your career require a graduate degree? If so, what kind?
  • How will a graduate program make you more marketable?
  • How will a graduate program help you effectively transition to a different career? 


Know the timeline for applications many graduate programs have.

If you are planning to apply to graduate school, it is best to start early to give yourself enough time for the entrance exam, letters of recommendation, essays, personal statements, and other documents necessary for admission to the program.
Applications for most PhD programs are due as early as December or January, while deadlines for Master’s programs can be anywhere from January, February, to March. Despite of which program you are applying for starting early will give you more time to perfect your application.
Applying earlier can also increase your odds of being admitted. Depending on the graduate program some have rolling admissions, so applications are evaluated as they arrive (rather than all at once).


Many programs require an interview prior to gaining admission. These can take many forms, from one-on-one conversations to group interviews to Skype interviews.

As with professional interviews, graduate school interviews are typically about fit within the program and if you have the skills and abilities the program requires.


Researching the reputation of a program early in the process will pay off in the future when graduation approaches and it is time to look for a job. However, keep in mind that it is rare for a school/program to have every single factor you are looking for. This is a good time to prioritize what is most important to help you in your decision making process. Visit the school, and see how it feels. Find out if you are comfortable with the environment/setting.

Only you can make the final decision whether graduate school is the right choice for you or not. If you decide to attend graduate school, look at the pros and cons of a program, and make a list to determine if the benefits outweigh the costs. For a second opinion, discuss your options with an advisor, career counselor, faculty member, friends, or family members. The best fit is a program that helps you reach your career goals and has a comfortable atmosphere. Your decision should be based on what will help you gain the most out of your graduate program.
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