Making the Decision to Attend Graduate School

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As you consider going to graduate school, ask yourself the following critical questions:

  • Why are you thinking about going to graduate school? What is your interest in this particular field of study?
  • What are your future career goals? What kind of fit does graduate study have with these goals?
  • For what kind of career does a graduate degree in your field of interest prepare you for?  Is a graduate degree required for the careers in which you’re interested?
  • Are you ready to dive into even more intensive academic work (focused on a single area of study) now, after 4 years of rigorous undergraduate preparation? If you feel burned out academically, would you consider pursuing graduate school after some time off (working, traveling, etc.) instead?
  • With whom have you discussed your interest in graduate school? Individuals important to consult include career counselors in addition to faculty, advisors, and professionals in your field of interest. What have you learned from these discussions? How have they impacted your decision?
  • Does your field of interest require applicants to have work, internship, or externship experience before entering graduate school? How do you intend to get this experience?
  • How have you prepared yourself with regard to pursuing graduate school (i.e., academic preparation, research, extracurricular experiences)?
  • If you’re considering a doctoral program, what are your feelings about devoting yourself to conducting original research and becoming a part of the research community in your area of interest?
  • What is your financial situation? How will you be able to support yourself over the next few years?
  • How do you see graduate school attendance within the context of your whole life?