Is Graduate School For Me?

Before making the decision to go to graduate school, it's a good idea to look at what may be behind your decision. There are no right or wrong reasons for applying to graduate school, but dropping out of graduate school may be avoided by honestly examining your motivation and by gathering information on the realities of graduate education.

Answering the questions below may help you evaluate your interests and needs for graduate school.

Why do you want to go to graduate school?

  • Do you want to enter a profession that requires an advanced degree? (Have you researched career opportunities available to undergraduates?)
  • Do you want a higher salary? (Will a graduate degree really affect your salary?)
  • Are you stalling on making a career decision? (Have you talked to a career counselor?)
  • Are you applying to graduate school because "everyone else is doing it?" (The decision to attend graduate school is ideally based on your own criteria, including how graduate education will fit in with your goals).
  • Are you applying to graduate school because you feel like you have no career options? (Have you used all job search methods? Have you talked to a career counselor?)
  • Are you delaying entry into the work world? (Have you conducted career research or talked with a career counselor?)
  • Do you know what your short and long term goals are and how a graduate degree can help you achieve them?

Do you really want to be a graduate student?

  • Are you willing to invest the time, energy and money associated with going to graduate school? Have you thoroughly investigated these costs?
  • Are you prepared to spend the majority of the next 2-7 years studying while living in near poverty?
  • Can a single topic or narrow range of topics sustain your interest for the next 2-7 years?
  • Do you need a break from school?
  • Will career-related work experience help you get into graduate school?
  • Are you comfortable initiating and carrying out independent research?
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