Considering grad school? Read this first.
It’s already April and the clock is ticking. Graduation is just around the corner, and you still have no idea what to do once your time in college is over. Going right into the workforce seems premature, especially since your friends say a bachelor’s is now more like a high school degree -- and to set yourself apart, you need higher education.
If you’re considering pursuing a Masters degree after you graduate, you’re probably wondering where to start -- and may even be struggling with what to choose. And then, making sure your choice is the right fit. Fortunately, there is no right or wrong way of approaching an advanced degree.
Here are tips to consider if you’re thinking about a Masters degree.
Be certain about what you want to do. This wasn’t so much the case with your bachelor’s degree, where you may have entered “undeclared” -- or switched your major five times. Master’s degrees are specific, so at least make sure you’re in the right field.
Consider your learning style. Choosing a Masters isn’t about picking another subject you want to study, it also include how you want to study. Conventional learning styles don’t always apply when you’re going for a Masters. You might be working on projects instead of attending classes. Or you might be in more practical or technical fields like research laboratories. Narrow down your options based on the setting you prefer to learn within.
Do your research. Research your options thoroughly. Don’t just go off a university's website’s description of the degree. Talk to professors whose classes you might be in, get in touch with admissions to see if you could sit in on a class, and read other student testimonies and reviews. Pay attention to the school’s reputation for research – many university satisfaction surveys don’t take this into account, but for Masters students, this is one of the most important factors.
Know your why. Really consider why an additional two years in academia is something you want to do. Is it for the additional reputation a Master’s degree will offer? Is the additional income it could provide? Is it because you don’t know what else you’ll do after college? A Masters degree should be an opportunity to pave the path towards a career. It is also an essential requirement for some fields of work. But either way, ensure you are undertaking a Masters degree for the right reasons.
Look at the costs. How are you even going to pay for this thing? The wise say, if you’re not getting it paid for, you’re not doing it right. Although costs vary between schools, Masters degrees are not cheap. If you can’t find a channel to get it paid for, you need to consider if you can afford it. Don’t forget to look at what scholarships and loans are available. And this isn’t just about the fees for the course. Consider the costs of not working for two years, or at least part-time, and the accommodation and living expenses you’ll have.