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Want to Go to Graduate School? Ask Yourself These 3 Questions First.

April 15, 2022

For many people, graduate school is a necessary step in preparing for their career in fields like finance, law, or medicine, but it might not be necessary, or even beneficial, for everyone. 

If you’re considering a graduate degree, take some time to consider what you really want to get out of a graduate program and whether it will help you reach your personal and professional goals. 

Not sure where to start? This blog will help you explore why you might want to pursue a graduate degree, the potential benefits, and what you need to get started. Let’s go!

1. Will a graduate degree help my career?

Not everyone needs multiple degrees to excel in life or in their career. In fact, some fields even value relevant work experience over advanced degrees when it comes to hiring and promoting employees. 

Depending on what you do, or want to do, a graduate degree might be more of a “nice to have” than a “need to have”. 

Here are some questions you might ask to determine if a graduate degree will help you reach your goals:

  • Can I get a job in my field without a graduate degree?
  • Will the time spent in school make up for a lack of work experience? 
  • Do other people I consider successful have graduate degrees? How did their degree lend to their success?

2. does graduate school make sense right now?

It may seem like a no-brainer, but take a minute to ask yourself if going back to school is something you even want to do. 

Not everyone enjoys traditional education, and for most fields, a passion for learning or research is necessary for success. If you’re not excited about going back to school, you might want to consider other ways you could enhance your skills or career before committing to a program. 

For others, regular life pressures might already be a lot to juggle. That doesn’t mean graduate school isn’t the right path for you, but it could make it hard to succeed in a traditional full-time program. 

Good news — if a full-time program sounds like too much of a commitment, SHU offers part-time and hybrid Master’s degree programs that prioritize flexibility as much as learning.

3. Can i afford graduate school?

Depending on the program and school you choose, a graduate degree can easily cost upwards of $30,000. Before you make any big decisions, it’s important to make sure you understand the cost of attendance and take time to explore all your options for funding. 

While it’s true that most graduate students take out student loans, you won’t necessarily be on the hook for a school’s advertised cost of attendance. Just like undergrad, graduate students can apply for various scholarships and grants to help pay for their education.

Graduate assistantships are another great way to reduce the cost of your degree. Assistantship programs allow graduate students to serve as administrative and faculty support in exchange for financial compensation in the form of a tuition waiver or stipend. The positions available may differ according to your school or department, so be sure to work with your admissions counselor to discover your options.

Start your Grad School journey at shu today

At the end of the day, only you can decide if a graduate degree is the right catalyst for reaching your personal and professional goals. But, if you need some additional guidance after pondering these questions, we have resources to help you make an informed decision.

Your Journey to Graduate School — The Prospective Student Toolkit is a free resource that will help you determine if you’re ready for grad school and find the right program when you are. Download it today to get started on your journey.


Download the Guide


SHU Graduate Admissions Team

About the Author

We are the graduate admissions team at Sacred Heart University. We aspire to create a welcoming and supportive environment for students looking to continue their education while empowering them in mind, body and spirit. We hope you find our resources helpful and informative as you explore and pursue a graduate degree at Sacred Heart!

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