With the start of fall comes the start of grad school application season. With grad school costing an average of $40,000, you'll want to be sure it's worth the cost of attending. If you, or someone close to you, is wondering if grad school is in the future here are some questions you need to consider:
Do You Really Need a Graduate Degree?
If you plan to have a career in medicine, law, higher education, or a host of others, then grad school and beyond is where you'll need to be. Depending on what you obtained your Bachelor's degree in then you may be able to find a decent job without having to further your education. Keep in mind, however, that if you choose to forgo grad school those jobs might not be as high paying or intensive as you might want. Before applying ask yourself if your career is dependent on a graduate degree.
Do You Know What You Want to Study?
If you already have in mind a clear path for your career and you know grad school has to happen then go for it. If, however, you aren't quite sure exactly what it is you want to do then don't start applying for anything just yet. There's no sense in wasting a lot of money on school if you aren't sure you'll want to finish the program. Take a year, or a few years, to really think about what you want to do, so when you do start grad school you'll be more passionate and focused.
Will You Be Able to Take It Seriously?
Grad school is time-consuming, life-consuming, expensive, and intense. To put it simply, grad school is hard. If you already have a busy life adding a load of classes to the mix might make things more complicated than you're willing to handle. It's not worth spending the money on going to grad school if you can't put the majority of your focus into doing it properly.
Can You Afford It?
Finally, ask if yourself if you can realistically afford it. Grad school means taking on a lot of additional responsibilities from your school work to a load of financial considerations. In addition to the cost of tuition, you'll also be expected to pay for your books, student fees, and living costs. If you plan on working in addition to attending school make sure you weigh up what this might mean for your grades. Depending on how rigorous your course load is working might not be a valid option. If you don't have the funds, and you're uncomfortable with the idea of taking out a lot of loans, then you might need to reassess how important grad school is to your future.