Is Grad School Right for You?

You’re Passionate about What You’ll Be Studying

Perhaps one of the most important factors in deciding whether attending graduate school is right for you is to ask yourself if you are truly passionate about the graduate degree you will be pursuing. Completing a graduate degree requires an incredible amount of work and a massive investment of your time so it’s vitally important that you genuinely enjoy what you will be studying. If you are simply studying something that you feel will benefit your income and career, but which you aren’t really interested in, then you’re probably attending grad school for all the wrong reasons. Remember, grad programs are different from undergrad programs, you’ll be focused on a specific field of study, delving deeply into details. If you aren’t passionate about the field, your grad school experience is likely to be tortuous.

Don’t Go to Grad School If:

A Degree Won’t Lead to Career Advancement or a Higher Income

Unless you are at a place in life where you can afford to complete a graduate degree simply for pleasure, it’s not a good idea to attend grad school if you know that it will have little effect on your career advancement or earning potential. Graduate degrees require a huge investment, and they are not something you should invest in if you know that it’s unlikely to pay off.

If you’re unsure whether or not a graduate degree will help your career, complete some research and talk to professionals from within your field to get an idea for how important it really is. Ask people who hold positions that you’re interested in achieving if they think graduate school is worth the time, effort and cost. Ultimately, don’t go to graduate school if you’re virtually certain that it will have little impact on your salary or career development.

You Can’t Afford Graduate School

Wherever you go to graduate school, it’s going to be expensive, costing at least thousands, but potentially tens of thousands or even over a hundred thousand dollars. If you have this saved up or are able to secure student loans that you know you’ll be able to pay off fairly quickly after graduation, then you’re in a great financial position to go to grad school. However, if you have no savings put away and can’t guarantee that a graduate program will enable you to earn a much higher salary, then you probably can’t afford graduate school and should avoid it at all costs. Although accepting that graduate school is out of your financial limits can be a depressing pill to swallow, this doesn’t necessarily have to mean that your dreams of attending grad school have to be put off forever. People of all ages and stages of life go to grad school, so if you can’t afford it now, just be sure to start saving money and stockpiling a grad school fund which you can tap into down the line.

Graduate School Won’t Fit into Your Lifestyle

Graduate school will seriously shake up your existing lifestyle, so it’s important that you are prepared for this. Make sure that you can realistically cope with the necessary lifestyle adjustments, or you could find the experience to be a deep, dark, pit of despair. Studying for a graduate degree will require you to dedicate an enormous amount of time to attending class, reading and preparing your thesis or dissertation. If you have young children to care of, if you are responsible for the care giving of elderly relatives or if you can’t afford to give up your full-time job to attend graduate school, then this may not be a realistic option. Unless you enroll in a part-time or entirely online program, you will likely struggle to cope with graduate school if you have too much going on in your personal life.