Graduate School, Or Not?

grad-school-or-notShort answer: maybe.  If you are thinking about graduate school, you are not alone.  Nearly one third of seniors will enter a graduate or professional school program after graduation.  Deciding on a program and when to start is a big decision.  Before you send off those applications and secure your enrollment spot, it’s a good idea to ask yourself a few questions and take time to reflect on whether or not graduate school is the appropriate next step for you.

The first question I ask most students who meet with me to chat about researching graduate programs and application prep is simple: why?  For each person, the answer is different.  Immediate entry into graduate school may give you a leg up in your professional field of interest.  Many times graduate or professional school will afford you a number of specialized skills or certifications and help propel you into the next step of that particular industry.  For example – if you want to be an attorney, then at some point, attending law school, succeeding in your studies, and passing the Bar exam is a pre-requisite before you can attempt to practice law.  In other fields, a graduate degree may be required simply for candidacy of application to apply.  However, this is not always the case.  Some graduate programs are more likely to admit an applicant who has work experience. It is important to identify the norm or standard of education in a given field – and do a bit of research to find out whether or not graduate school immediately after college is a necessary or realistic goal.

Another big question to ask yourself: are you ready?  By ready, I simply mean are you ready to continue attending school for several months or years?  As you approach graduation, you may find that you would like a break from school to recharge before you pursue another academic program.  Perhaps you would like to gain some “real world” experience and explore the world of work a bit before deciding which field of study is the best one for you. Maybe you would like to travel the world or give back in the form of volunteering or service work.

Whatever you decide, remember that the choice is yours.  Family, friends, and other influencers will not be attending classes (or work) for you.  Adjusting to a new academic or work environment and geographic location is a major life transition and certainly worth consideration and intention.

Thinking about grad school after Davidson?  You likely have many questions. Be prepared – meet with a career advisor, faculty mentor, and industry professional to gather information and make an informed decision.  Learn more about the ins and outs of graduate school application prep, and how to make the most of your post-graduate studies.  For now, take some time to reflect as to whether or not graduate school right after college is the right choice for you and visit the Center for Career Development to discuss your options.

Tiffany Waddell

About Tiffany Waddell

Passionate about helping others develop themselves professionally and identify how their unique skills and interests can not only be cultivated, but add value to professional relationships, organizations, and the world, Tiffany has effectively coached hundreds of budding young professionals on how to create and launch strategic action plans to accomplish long and short-term goals.  She received her BA & MA from Wake Forest University.

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