5 Key Questions to Ask Before Pursuing Grad School

Use this guide to enhanced your career options.

Whether you’ve recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree or you’ve been working in a graduate career for some time and want to improve your resume, graduate school may well be something that you’ve considered. Whilst there is absolutely nothing wrong with pursuing an MBA or any other type of masters’ degree, particularly when it is to enhance your chances in your dream career and allow you to make more money in your chosen industry, it’s worth asking yourself some important questions to make sure that pursuing graduate school is going to be a worthwhile decision for you. No matter your reasons for considering graduate school, here are some of the best questions to ask yourself to ensure that it’s the right decision for you before you dive into research and applications.

1. Why Are You Considering Getting a Masters’ Degree?

The first and often the most important question to ask yourself is simply why you’re considering studying for a masters’ degree. So many people go and spend a significant amount of money and time getting their masters’ degree hoping that it will help them figure out their next career step, only to be disappointed when it doesn’t quite work out like that. So, do some soul-searching and figure out exactly why it is that you’re considering going to graduate school. Perhaps it’s because you’re not sure what to do next in your career and returning to school seems like a safe bet, or maybe you’re pursuing a masters’ degree to enable you to successfully move up the ranks in your career and become a more competitive industry candidate. Either way, make sure that your masters’ degree is going to be something that brings you closer to your chosen destination. If you’re not sure where that is, then it might be worth figuring it out first.

2. Have You Considered Any Alternatives?

If a better-paying position in a role that excites you more came up tomorrow, would you still want to pursue your masters’ degree? Or, is it simply something that you want to do in order to make yourself feel more qualified? Consider if there are any alternatives you could try that would provide you with the same results, such as getting more hands-on experience in your chosen industry, or working closely with a mentor. Or, could you simply put all of your focus into getting a better position in your career? If you’d ditch any chance to get a masters’ degree at the first sign of a better position coming your way, then it might not be the best option for you right now. Putting all your energy into getting that position you desire could have results more in line with what you actually want.

3. How Will You Study for the Degree?

It’s also worth considering how you’re going to work studying for your degree around your life. Are you in a position where you’re financially comfortable enough to quit work, move back to college and put all your energy and effort into pursuing your degree? Perhaps your desire to study for a masters’ degree right now is fuelled by the knowledge that you have the financial means to give it your all, coupled with a lack of commitments that will hold you back. On the other hand, if you can’t afford to give up working full-time, or if you have family commitments that need to be upheld, getting your masters’ degree may be harder, but not impossible. You may want to consider options such as this online masters in communication with no GRE, which will allow you to easily and quickly get into grad school without taking the pre-qualifications needed for most programs. In addition, studying online allows you an extra degree of flexibility that will allow you to fit the studies around your career and family commitments.

4. Is It Something That You Want for Yourself?

Or, is a masters’ degree something that others want for you? Perhaps you were raised in a family where obtaining a master’s qualification was seen as the key to success, and you have family members who will simply never be happy with you having a bachelor’s degree alone, even if you’re working in a rewarding, highly-respected career. Whilst many employers do desire more than a bachelor’s degree, it’s worth bearing in mind that committing to graduate school should always be something that you want for yourself, rather than a decision you make because others want you to. It can be difficult to feel like you are letting close family members down but, at the end of the day, to be truly successful with a masters’ degree it needs to stem from a passion for the subject.

5. How Will the Degree Impact Your Career?

Finally, it’s worth giving some careful consideration as to how the degree will impact your career and future. Whilst earning a masters’ degree can provide you with a wide number of benefits, the process can require a lot of sacrifice and be very emotionally and physically taxing, so it’s important before you get started to ensure that it will have the benefits in your future career to make it all worth it. Pursuing grad school is likely going to mean studying whilst working or even giving up work altogether for some time. In addition, it means fitting it in around your other commitments, prioritizing study over spending time with your friends and family, getting further into student debt, or spending thousands of dollars funding the qualification from your own pocket. So, your reasons for pursuing a masters’ degree will need to withstand all the potential difficulties that grad school could throw at you. As a result, it’s crucial to have a solid purpose for applying and a strong understanding of what you expect to get out of it.

Attending graduate school and earning a masters’ degree can be very beneficial for your future career. But, is it the right choice for you?