Deciding on whether or not to attend graduate school is a decision that requires careful thought. These resources will help guide your decision.
Begin by asking yourself these questions:
- Do I really love the field enough to obtain an advanced degree?
Talk to alumni or professors and research the subject. You need to be enthusiastic about your field of interest to keep up with demands of graduate life.
- Is an advanced degree required to enter a particular profession or obtain a certain level within the field?
- Do I have the financial resources to cover the cost of graduate school?
- Do I have the motivation, intellectual qualities and self-discipline to stay in school for one to seven more years?
Some people find that taking some time off to "discover themselves" and/or gain work experience helps to develop more clearly defined goals.
- Am I going to graduate school for the right reasons?
Graduate school is a large commitment of time, energy and money. Evaluate your reasons for wanting to attend.
- Do I want to go to school full time or part time?
Some programs require full-time attendance, and some types of financial aid do as well, while a part-time program allows you to work and earn an income while attending school.
- Should I attend right away or take some time off?
There are pros and cons either way, so weigh them to see what's best for you in terms of time, finances, personal/family interests, etc.
Finding & Evaluating Graduate Programs
Resources to help you search for graduate schools and programs based on location, career field, tuition, and a variety of other factors.
Crafting your personal statement
The audience for your "personal essay" is an admissions committee composed of members of your future profession or academic discipline. When they read your essay, they will be seeking depth and substance, along with a true passion and commitment to your area of study. They will also be looking for individual traits or characteristics that make you an outstanding graduate school candidate.
In your essay, be sure to:
- convey your long- and short-range career goals.
- present yourself as an individual with desirable personal abilities, background, interests and plans.
- describe the nature and significance of your relevant experiences, and give concrete evidence of your knowledge, competence and motivation in the field of your choice.
- explain your special interest in this particular graduate program.
- account for any conspicuous weaknesses in your record.
- demonstrate your writing ability and communication skills in general.