Are You Ready for Grad School?

Many American adults are pursuing a graduate degree to stand out in the competitive job market, increase their earnings, advance in their current careers, or change their careers. Graduate school is a commitment whether you are fresh out of an undergraduate program or have been out of school for some years. While an additional degree to write on your resume, a larger paycheck, or an impressive title sounds appealing, the road requires hours of work and studying. Graduate school requires mental and circumstantial readiness.

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How to Know If You Are Ready for Graduate School

You Are Confident about Your Program of Study

To save valuable time and money, you must be 100 percent sure about your program of study. You may want to learn more about the subject you studied as an undergraduate. If you’re going to advance in your current career or change careers, you should consult your employers, career counselors, and university advisors on which subject you study. For example, suppose you are a teacher who wants to advance into administration eventually. In that case, you need to know if a master’s degree in education or a master’s in school administration is the better route.

You Have a Clear Idea about What You Will Do With Your Graduate Degree

It would help if you had the right motivations for pursuing a graduate degree. Suppose you consider going into graduate school to increase your knowledge of a subject. In that case, you may make a mistake because you will be less motivated to do the necessary work. If your end goal is to change careers or advance in your current career, you need to be sure that you will get a job in that field or get that promotion. If you want to start bringing home a bigger paycheck upon graduation, you need to be sure that the raise will be worth it, even with the extra school loans.

You Understand the Financial Cost

Graduate school can cost thousands of dollars. There are fewer scholarships and grants offered for graduate programs. Federal student loans often have a limit; therefore, you may have used all or most of your limit for undergraduate studies. If you have reached your federal loan limit, you will have to get a private student loan, which may have a higher interest rate and require a co-signer. Jobs often pay for master’s programs. Ph.D. programs often offer grants and stipends. If your primary motivation for earning a graduate degree is to increase your earnings, you will need to do the math to see if the extra money is worth it in the long term because student loans can take decades to pay off.

You Are Prepared to Take the Entrance Tests

Many graduate programs require an entrance test. Master’s programs typically require you to take the GRE or GMAT tests. If you are interested in becoming a medical doctor, you must accept the MCAT test to get into medical school. The good news is that an abundance of MCAT preparation is offered for free online and in many communities. MCAT preparation should be taken seriously because taking the test costs several hundred dollars.

You Know a List of Schools in Mind that Can Accommodate Your Lifestyle

JustLikeking for an undergraduate program, you will need to be aware of which schools are best for your progstudy programwever, and you will need to find a schedule conducive to your current lifestyle. You may need a program that offers online courses, night courses, housing, or proximity to home.

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