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Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Sign Up for Grad School


Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Sign Up for Grad School by Kelly Greathouse

Crippling indecision accompanied the concept of pursuing my graduate degree. Sleepless nights about financial considerations and next steps led to anxiety, which led to analysis paralysis on the ROI of furthering my education. Those gut reactions seem common for many wannabe students who are considering going back to school. The fear goes to another level when the person is a 30-something-year-old parent thinking about going back to school.

For years, I made excuses about why starting school “wasn’t the right time,” or kept circulating misinformed ideas about “what needed to happen” before signing up for classes. It wasn’t until a former employer agreed to pay for some of the costs of schooling that I filled out the grad school application. I could come up with no more tangible excuses. Now in the thick of my part-time studies, my career is promising with a new frame of reference thanks to my graduate studies within the Reed College of Media. 

While this path is working out well for me, there are still questions I would have asked myself before signing up for grad school if I could do it all over again. These questions can be answered by part-time parents going back to school like me, or a fresh graduate of their undergrad studies:

Question 1: What is the end goal?

The studies in grad school are targeted and the time goes by quickly. That’s why it’s important to identify your goal early in the process. Figuring out what needs to be accomplished from a master’s degree helps to pick the right program. It’ll allow the opportunity to tailor the situation with what will work best for you.

Question 2: Is this degree necessary to achieve the end goal?

A master’s degree is great, but it’s not necessary for every career path. Once an end goal is determined, crafting a customized career path becomes a lot easier.

Question 3: Will the workload be manageable?

The definition of “manageable” is relative to each individual grad student. Figuring out what you can handle is important because it will allow success to flourish. For a working mom of three, manageable means only doing one class every eight  weeks. It’s going to take me longer to achieve my degree, but that’s okay! I can confidently go into each semester knowing I’ll be successful.

Question 4: How will I finance schooling?

Deciding to go to school can be uplifting until the reality of financing hits a person in the face. A game plan at the start of a grad school journey cuts down on the stress associated with paying for school. There will be enough normal stressors through grad school. Eliminate any extra stress as quickly as possible.

An academic adviser can help you connect the dots. Reach out to your adviser today to talk through  your answers to the questions above and determine next steps in a possible grad school journey.

Interested in growing your career with a master's degree in Data, Digital or Integrated Marketing Communications? Request more information today!

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