Is graduate school right for you?

Grad School

There are a lot of reasons to attend grad school, but there are also a lot of reasons NOT to. Simply having a master’s degree does not necessarily guarantee you a better job or a higher salary. There are certain careers that require an advanced degree, such as psychologist or attorney. However, there are MANY careers where a bachelor’s degree is the norm.  

Many students choose to pursue graduate school because they are uncertain about their post-graduation plans, but this choice could lead to a lot of unnecessary student debt. Make sure you’re making the decision based on your career goals. For more info, watch our ‘Should I Go to Graduate School workshop recording.

We know this is a big decision, and you don’t need to make it alone! If you are feeling uncertain about your career goals or determining whether you should go on to graduate or professional school, schedule an appointment with a Fleishman Center career consultant in hireBING

Exploring graduate programs
If you do plan to go to graduate school, start researching programs to find those that might be a good fit for you. Here’s where to start:

  • Attend the Virtual Grad School Fair on Thursday, Nov. 5 from 11 am – 2:30 pm in hireBING by Handshake: Connect virtually with representatives from 150+ graduate school programs. Learn more and register!
  • Grad School Match helps you easily gather and make sense of all the information you need to help choose the right graduate program!
  • Peterson’s Graduate School Search Tool can help you find a school that’s right for you. Search by degree type, location and more!
  • Use your network: Reach out to faculty and your network for advice about graduate programs they would recommend.  
  • If there are several programs you are interested in applying to, reach out to admissions advisors to make sure you understand the admissions requirements and deadlines and ask any questions you may have. You can even reach out to program faculty to learn more about the program.

Once you know what programs you want to apply to, start thinking about the next steps of the application process:

1. Letters of recommendation
Graduate programs will require 2-3 letters of recommendation. These should come from people who know you well and who can speak highly about you as a student, an intern, an employee or a volunteer. If you don’t have professionals to write letters just yet, start strengthening relationships now so you can ask professionals in the future months.

2. Entrance exams
Most graduate programs also require you to take entrance exams such as the GMAT, GRE, LSAT or MCAT. Be sure you have identified the right test based on the programs you are interested in and start studying. Most tests require several months to even years of preparation and you may need to take them several times. 

3Personal statement
Personal statements are an important part of the graduate school application process and are your opportunity to tell admissions committees who you are. These short essays introduce you as a grad school candidate and provide a platform for you to explain your personal reasons for applying to a particular program and why you think you are a good fit, and sell yourself to the admissions committee. For helpful tips, watch our ‘Crafting a Personal Statement’ workshop recording. For assistance or feedback on your personal statement, schedule an appointment in hireBING to meet with a career consultant!

By Alissa Strong
Alissa Strong Sr. Asst. Director, Technology Innovation & Marketing Alissa Strong