Before You Become A Student Again…6 Questions to Ask Yourself
It’s no secret these days that a bachelor’s degree just isn’t worth what it used to be. In our parents generation, earning a bachelor’s degree was enough to remain competitive, advance in your career, and make enough money to be comfortable. Now, even before many of us leave the trenches of Undergrad we are already thinking about where we want to attend grad school and that’s if you don’t just go straight through after Undergrad. Going back to school is a major decision and before you fling yourself into the alphabet soup world of M.S., PhD, MBA, LSAT, GRE and all the other acronyms related to grad school, you should ask yourself these questions:
It’s the shortest question, but it usually has a somewhat difficult answer. Why do you even want to go back? Do you have a clear idea for furthering your education or does it just “sound” good? Asking yourself “why?” will make you really examine the true reason for why you want to return to the classroom.
2. Does it align with your career goals?
Do you even need to further your education to land the job you want? Although grad school will generally provide you with more options, it is not always necessary in every field.
3. How are you going to pay for it?
With college students graduating with more student loan debt than ever before, the cost of a graduate program becomes a larger factor. Are you going to utilize tuition reimbursement from your current job? Are you going to be aggressive with scholarships and grants? Or are you willing to take on more debt for the degree of your dreams? These are questions that you have to address long before you apply.
4. What will you be giving up by going back to school?
In every decision that you make there is always a trade-off. If you go back to school, what will you be giving up? Are you willing to place your education ahead of becoming a homeowner, buying a car, starting a family, or seeing the world? It’s important to realize how furthering your education will be prioritized with other aspects of your life.
5. What type of program would you enroll in?
These days you don’t even have to set foot on a school’s actual campus to earn a degree. Which approach will work best for you: online, part-time, full-time, studying abroad, etc…?
6. Have you identified others who have taken a similar approach?
If you look hard enough, (or these days not even that hard) you will probably find someone who has taken the same approach to grad school that you could use as a sounding board. This person could eventually become a mentor and help you navigate the world of higher education. They might also be able to help you find answers to the five questions above.
Thinking ahead and most importantly being honest with yourself will help you get a better idea of what grad school will be like for you. All in all, you can never go wrong wanting to further your education. Now we want to hear from you! What other questions should you ask yourself to decide if grad school is the way to go?
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