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4 Questions to Ask Yourself If You're Thinking About Graduate School

Thinking about going to graduate school? Here are four things to consider before you make the leap.

1. Do you need a graduate degree or other certification to meet your career goals?

Research your industry. Is this degree or certification absolutely necessary for you to transition into the role you would ultimately like to take during your career life? For some, the answer may be yes, but for others, your answer may very well be no. Think long and hard about the need for that degree before you dive in.

2. Do other employees in your industry have that degree or certification?

Even if your industry says that don't require a certain level of education, what is the standard for current employees in the field. If every entry-level employee in you industry has a Master's in Education, that could be a signal that the industry standard includes getting a Master's.

3. What is the length of time you are willing to spend in graduate school?

Every graduate program is different. There are some Master's programs that only require one year of study. Others, need you for two. There are some Ph.D. programs that will only have you stay for three years if you already have a Master's, and others that require five. You want to be well aware of the requirements for the particular program you are interested in.

4. How much money are you willing to spend for a graduate degree?

Finally, you need to know the cost of your graduate program and if there is an opportunity for a funding package. Ask questions of MORE THAN ONE PERSON to determine whether or not there is funding available. Every university does not offer the same funding package. Every major does not offer the same funding package. I know people who have stipends that are 1,800/month and others who are getting stipends of $3,00/month. Ask questions.

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