Advice About Grad School

gradschoolConsidering Grad School? It can be one of the most challenging and concurrently, rewarding experiences you can ever undergo. For some, grad school is an event that has been planned way ahead of time, and for others it is something you just find yourself falling into in between that period of graduation and finding your career. While everyone has their own reasons for applying and completing a graduate degree, going into the program for the right reasons is a major factor to consider.

Graduate studies are lengthy, time consuming, financially draining and require serious dedication. Consequently, it is important to ask yourself the right questions before embarking on this extended journey.

 

As I mentioned, I am in the last year of completing my graduate degree and I learned a great deal through my experiences thus far. Here are a few suggestions and questions to help guide you through your thoughts and something concrete to refer to that can help you reflect on whether this is the right path for your future.

  1. What is the purpose? Perhaps the most important question: why are you considering getting a graduate degree? Are you extremely passionate about your desired field, are you longing to reach a goal that will only be possible by earning this degree or are you looking for more compensation at your current job, or even a career change? These are all important aspects to consider before even beginning an application for a master’s program.
  2. Is the timing right? Are you still a student at the time of application? Still in the groove of student life? Many graduate programs require two full time years of work experience; perhaps this is something you’re lacking. If so, do you have new obligations that have presented themselves in your life that may be distracting to your educational success? What is your five-year plan? Think about the near and distant future that you are planning to build for yourself and if your goals along with your potential graduate program are aligned.
  3. Professional or Academic? This is an important factor to consider and often overlooked – are you looking to improve your professional life or perhaps go into the realm of academia. Think about the program you are applying to and who and what it caters to. For one, I am in a program that is designed to train teachers on how to become school leaders and principals. Initially, I thought the program would be more practical; however, on the contrary, it is very theoretical. Do your research on the program and try to ask current students or those who have graduated about their thoughts on the program at hand.

There are an abundance of questions one can ask themselves when venturing into the world of grad school and these are just a few suggestions to get you thinking more deeply. As a teacher, I see education as field that will be beneficial to you no matter what your purpose for attaining it is. Conversely, it wouldn’t be a good idea to begin something that you are not fully prepared for and that is why it is crucial to do your research and speak to professionals like advisors and program directors before making your final choice. I highly recommend graduate studies to anyone who is looking to maximize their knowledge in a field they are passionate about and open doors to novel career opportunities in their desired field of study.

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”

-Benjamin Franklin

Best,

Lisa

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