Things to Consider Before Applying to Graduate School

By Brenda on October 3rd, 2011


If you are thinking about an online graduate degree there are many things to consider.  Grad school can be very expensive with some degrees costing in excess of $50,000.

While some go on to make a lot of money after graduating from graduate school, some make huge mistakes in their endeavor.  In order to avoid making this costly mistake, here are some questions to ask yourself prior to applying to grad school.

Why do you need an advanced degree?

The first question you should ask yourself is why you need to go to graduate school or why you need the advanced degree.  There are some industries that require an advanced degree and no way that you can obtain employment without one.  This is particularly true of law and medicine.  It is important to do your research first and see if an advanced degree is required of your field.  This can be a costly mistake if you could have moved up the ladder without one.

Is the field highly competitive?

The pay may be high, but if the competition is higher, you may not be able to land a job very easily.  Be sure and assess the competition in the field before applying to an online graduate school.  There are fields of study that are highly competitive and graduates are forced to take low paying jobs for years before moving into one of the coveted positions.  Some never make the cut and end up moving into a different field.  It is very important to examine the competition before applying to grad school in any field.

What is your earning potential post-graduation?

While medical and law school cost an arm and a leg, the earning potential following graduation can be an incentive.  When you graduate from school you may have accrued a significant amount of debt.  A doctorate in philosophy probably won’t pay the bills but a medical degree will.  Be sure to examine the earning potential attached to the career path you are on.  You won’t want to accrue all that debt and have nothing to show for it or no means of paying it off.

Is the timing right?

This is especially important if you have been out of school awhile.  If your current employment is stifled because you don’t have a graduate degree then now might be the right time.  It is also important to assess your life and see if graduate school will fit into the mix.  If you have just had a baby and your spouse was recently laid off from work, now might not be the best time for you to go back to school.

Can you handle the load?

This is one of the most important questions to ask yourself because most students either drop out of school for two reasons: financial and workload.  If your life is currently busy and graduate school would be of great difficulty, it is best not to apply.  Plan on additional study time, papers that need to be written at midnight and a heavy reading load.


Category: Campus Degrees,Degrees,Masters Degrees