Let’s face it, grad school is a commitment. One does not just leisurely get a master’s degree either, doing so requires dedication, time, and effort. So no matter whether you’re a senior coming to the end of your undergraduate progression, or a graduate looking to branch out into an entirely new field, graduate school might be in the cards. Additionally, many people nowadays say believe that a bachelor’s degree is the equivalent of a high school diploma, which makes those holding a master’s degree or a PhD all the more desirable. In fact, some jobs even require a master’s degree to obtain an entry-level position. For example, if you are going into business, expect to have a master’s degree to be a required condition for employment.
Obviously, all of this can get quite overwhelming, especially if you are still completing your bachelor’s degree. As stated above, graduate school requires a lot of time, commitment, and perseverance. Yet, it is typically well worth the trials and tribulations. But there’s no need to fear, as the way out is certainly through. Here to assist with your decisions are four factors to consider before attending grad school.
1. Consider the Cost
For those accustomed to the structure of their undergraduate program, paying for grad school can come as somewhat of a surprise. Not only is it more expensive for less time, but obtaining financial aid is rather difficult. However, students do have a few options. These include tax benefits such as the lifetime learning tax credit, scholarships and fellowships, student loans, competition between schools, early applications, employer tuition assistance, and programs that will mark you as eligible for in-state tuition based on regional location rather than the specific state you live in.
2. Where is the School Located?
Considering that you will be living in the area your school occupies for at least two years (sometimes more), learning about the location is paramount. Is the school comprised of satellite locations that are scattered all over the city, or is it a centralized location? What is the area like? Is it safe to walk around or better to drive? How expensive is the cost of living in that particular area? Answering all of these questions will help ensure a comfortable experience, allowing you to train your focus on your academic work.
3. What Resources Does the Graduate Program Provide?
Whether you decide to attend Hofstra University or Harvard University, it is important to consider how the school’s available resources will impact your studies. If you’re in business or the humanities, you will need a vast library with ample reference materials. Conversely, if you are in the sciences, you should ensure that the lab you are working in is equipped with the tools necessary to appropriately conduct your research. The best way to obtain this information is to call the school or browse online. For example, to learn more about USC’s online mpa degree one could just google the topic and research the information on USC’s website.
4. Make Sure Your School is Accredited
If the school you enroll in is not accredited, it may be difficult to find employment. Most big name schools are accredited institutions, for example USC, but the best way to find out is to ask your school.