Is grad school right for you? How do you figure it out? The Center for Career & Professional Development can help you explore your graduate education options and tackle the nuts and bolts of the application process. Don’t forget that our faculty in your desired area of study are also excellent resources.
At the Center for Career & Professional Development you can meet one-on-one with a professional staff member to get advice about your graduate/professional school search process and get help with resumes, cover letters, personal statements and applications.
The decision to attend graduate school can be a difficult one. You should consider a variety of factors, both internal (your own motivation/ preparation/ ability) and external (cost, location, job market, etc.). You should attend graduate school if you have a strong desire to pursue further studies in your vocation/subject of interest. Some vocations require grad/professional school (e.g. law, medicine), and others may require it down the road for career advancement. While average salaries for graduates with Master’s and PhDs are higher than those of Bachelor’s-only graduates, those salaries vary by discipline/industry. An advanced degree alone is not a guarantee of higher pay. Don’t pursue grad school just because you don’t know else to do next, want to avoid the job market, or just want to please someone else. To take a brief assessment in order to better understand if graduate school is the right choice for you, download Should I Attend Graduate/Professional School?
Graduate study can be very narrowly focused. Begin your search by identifying the target subject (e.g. English Literature, Microbiology, Law, etc.) and degree level (Master’s program usually takes 1-3 years; PhD takes 4-5 years minimum). Consider each level of “fit”: School as a whole > appropriate department > individual faculty. Identify 20 programs in which you would be happy (1/3 “Safe”, 1/3 Probably, 1/3 “Reach”). Poll your professors, alumni, and currently enrolled grad students about graduate programs for ideas about specific grad programs. Do research: www.gradschools.com, The Gourman Report, academic journals, professional associations, practicing professionals. Note where the authors of research you read for your classes are working or where they studied. Identify faculty members who have the potential to be future mentors: Write to faculty and currently-enrolled students via email; try to visit campuses; ask questions.
Through the Internet Links section of our website you can find links to numerous sites to help you with your graduate/professional school search. In our Career Cafe, you can read suggestions for writing personal statements, taking entrance exams, finding funding for your studies and more!