Why Grad School?
Why Attend Graduate or Professional School?
Graduate study requires a significant commitment of time and money. A decision to attend should not be made without first contemplating and clarifying your goals. Before applying to graduate school, you will want to know about the working conditions, employment outlook, and specific requirements of the field you plan to pursue. You also want to know about the demands of the programs for which you are applying. Knowing this information will help you find a good match between your skills, interests, goals, and needs.
Graduate degrees are usually either academic or professional in orientation. Academic degrees focus on original research, while professional degrees focus on practical application of particular knowledge and skills. Masters degrees take anywhere from one to three years to complete, and a Ph.D. will usually take an additional four to seven years to complete. For many fields, a Masters degree is sufficient for employment; examples include the Masters Degree of Business Administration (M.B.A.), and the Masters of Social Work (M.S.W.). For other fields such as medicine (M.D.), law (J.D.), or teaching at the college level (Ph.D.), a doctorate is necessary. Once you have determined that you want to pursue graduate study, you will want to start researching your options.
As you research choices for graduate school, consider the following questions:
- What are my long-range and short-range career goals?
- Is graduate school necessary for me to achieve these goals?
- In my field, is it easier to attend graduate school directly after receiving my undergraduate degree, or would I benefit from a couple of years of work experience?
- What is the cost of graduate school – direct (tuition) and indirect (loss of possible earnings)?
- At present, do I have other needs that conflict with pursuing a graduate degree?
- Will your job and salary prospects be enhanced by graduate studies?
- For information, see: acinet.org, salary.com, collegegrad.com
- Are there employers who would assist in paying for graduate school?
- Are you looking into graduate school to avoid 'the real world'?