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Is Grad School Right for You?

Attending graduate school is an obvious choice for many, especially for those who want to enter a career where a masters or PhD is required. However, for many other people, completing a graduate program is more based on personal reasons, such as hoping to gain a promotion or simply because they have an interest in the masters subject and want to study it in greater detail. In recent years, some people have even decided to go to graduate school to try and wait out or hide from the current recession, with the hopes that the economy will have recovered by the time they graduate.

Whatever your reason for wanting to attend grad school, it’s important to ask yourself if it’s really right for you. Graduate school may seem like an appealing and even enjoyable alternative to working life, but will it really benefit you by helping achieve your long term goals? Is your decision to go to grad school more based on fear or on realistic and sensible reasons? These are all important questions to ask yourself when deciding whether or not to enroll in graduate school.

To help you determine whether you’re making this decision for the right reasons, read on to find some reasons for attending graduate school, as well as some reasons for avoiding it.

Go to Grad School If:

It Will Advance Your Career

If your dream job requires a master’s or PhD, then attending graduate school is a great idea. This goes the same for careers where a masters or PhD isn’t required, but having one of these will help you climb the ranks more swiftly. If you’re very ambitious and want to reach the top of your field, a graduate degree definitely does have the potential to help you realize your ambitions more quickly and easily. Do some research to see just how much a graduate degree can help you reach your career goals.

It Will Improve Your Income

One of the major reasons why people attend graduate school is because they hope it will boost their income more rapidly and substantially than simply working their way up the corporate ladder. If you’re interested in a graduate program that is virtually guaranteed to boost your income, then completing the program is likely a good idea. Here you can see the average salary for people that have attained the graduate qualification you’re interested in, and see how this matches up to your current salary and expectations.

You Can Afford It

Graduate school is a huge investment, and is really only worth it if you either pay for your program in full up-front or if you know that you’ll be able to repay your student loans easily within the next couple of years. To assess if you can realistically afford grad school, make a list of all the expenditures you expect you’ll have to make. Be sure to include tuition, room and board and day to day expenses (such as transport, groceries, books and other academic related supplies) to see if your budget can realistically cover all the related costs. If you can afford graduate school and it fits in with your long term goals, then go for it, but if you find that you can’t afford the steep price tag, then it’s time to seriously reconsider whether grad school is the best next step for you.

It Realistically Fits into Your Lifestyle

Graduate school will have a big toll on your lifestyle, whether you study online or at a brick and mortar school. If you are confident that you can still take care of personal responsibilities (such as caring for your relatives, children, paying rent and the bills) then graduate school should be an easy transition for you. However, it’s important that you only attend graduate school if it won’t force you to abandon important personal responsibilities or affect your lifestyle in a negative way. The ideal graduate school candidate is someone who has few responsibilities as well as the time and funds to dedicate toward studying. If this sounds like you, then grad school would likely be a perfect fit for your lifestyle.