So you’ve decided to go to graduate school. Congratulations! It’s a commendable choice that reflects your commitment to improving yourself now and setting a strong foundation for your future. But preparing for graduate school can be a little scary, at least at first. Here’s how I did it.
When I was deciding if I should go to graduate school, I asked myself three questions that I think every student should ponder:
1. Am I ready for grad school?
After completing my undergraduate education, I had to ask myself, “am I ready for grad school?” I was exhausted from leading student organizations, competing in a highly-demanding academic environment, and so not ready to accept that I would no longer live within a one-mile radius of all my brilliant best friends with whom I would go to Burger King in the middle of the night.
I knew nothing about the “real world” beyond a 10-week summer internship I did after my junior year. I wanted work experience, a normal sleep schedule, and a solid workout and cooking routine.
So instead of rushing into grad school, I took three years after my undergraduate degree to work at one of the most rewarding and welcoming Fortune 100 companies in the U.S. I moved back home, paid off my student loans, saved money, adopted a healthy lifestyle, and made myself personally ready for graduate school.
My point is, it’s okay to press pause. Get some work experience, pay off your debts (if you have any), and put yourself first—whatever that means for you (enjoying hobbies, picking up a new skill, or binge-watching TV).
2. Is this a smart financial decision?
When preparing for graduate school, be sure to research graduate school scholarships, graduate grants and fellowships, as well as graduate student loans.
You should also carefully study the employment outcomes of your program (and of your school). Keep an eye on student loan interest rates and only borrow what you need. Some programs even recommend against working a part-time job while in school because of the academic demands of a full-time graduate program.