Whether it's always been on your radar, or you’re just ready to get out of college, graduate school is a great possibility you should look into. There are some things you can do to better understand the process and ensure that you’re taking the best steps moving forward. Chasing higher education is awesome if you’ve thought through important factors like time, money, experience and more. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you bring grad school into focus.
Is it the right time?
Much of the important life decisions we make revolve around whether it is the right time to do X. Grad school is a great example of this. While there are tons of great opportunities in higher education, it's important to think about whether you are prepared to jump into that. Ask yourself, does submitting a strong application require work experience? If so, think about getting a job that is relevant to what you want to study for a couple of years prior to applying. In contrast, if you are someone that discovered what you wanted to do later in your college years and require specific tools and skills to pursue your career, start getting your grad school application together.
What do I need in order to apply?
Generally speaking, though dependent on the schools you're applying to, you’ll need to submit your:
• Personal statement
• Standardized test scores
• Letters of recommendation
This might sound overwhelming but if you’ve stayed generally organized in school you’ll be fine. When choosing classes think about coursework that will be relevant to your application. Similarly, if you are enjoying and doing well in a particular class, introduce yourself to your professor so you can ask for a recommendation letter later.
What is the deal with standardized testing for grad school?
The most common standardized tests are:
|GRE (Graduate Record Examination)||5|
|GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test)||5|
|LSAT (Law School Admission Test)||5|
|MCAT (Medical School Admission Test)||3|
|TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)||2|
A primary difference between the GMAT and GRE is that the GRE is used for many different types of graduate schools while the GMAT is exclusively used to apply for business school. Consider taking your standardized test while you’re still in school and exercising those testing brain muscles. With most scores valid for more than a year, even if you don’t go to graduate school now, you will have the option to apply later.
Is it worth the money?
This question can often make or break the decision to go to school. It's very important to consider where you are at financially before paying for something as big as higher education. Think of it as an investment in yourself. If you’re unsure about what to do, look into the backgrounds of leaders within your industry, did they go to grad school? Try signing up for a graduate class at your current school and see how you feel. Reach out to people who go to the schools you’re applying to, some may even be alumni from your college!
Going to graduate school is a big decision to make dependent on several factors. It is an incredible opportunity to learn more and become an expert in your field. It can enhance your career options by a lot! As and if you get closer to making that choice, download the Kora app to help budget your finances so you can chase your dreams, stress-free!