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What to Consider Before Graduate School

Thinking about going to graduate school? The idea of furthering your education may be tempting, particularly in a tight job market. Earning a graduate degree can be an effective way to spend your time after graduation when the economy is struggling and you’re having trouble finding a job. It can also be a way to position yourself for a new career without starting from scratch. Before making your decision, take some time to consider if it is the right choice for you.

How is Your Current Financial Situation?

Before making any big decision, it makes sense to look at your finances. Do you plan to work and attend school part-time? If you are planning to attend school full-time how will you handle day-to-day expenses? If you have some time before making your decision, paying down any credit card debt is a quick way to improve your financial situation. Are you still paying on student loans from college? If so, look at how student loan deferment and forbearance may have an effect. You may be able to avoid making payments on your loans while you are in graduate school, but it is important to understand the conditions of the agreement. Interest will accumulate, which you can continue to pay or roll into your loan.

What is Your Timeline?

If you are happy with your job and looking to earn a graduate degree as a career boost, attending school part-time and taking online classes are options that make the process a little less stressful. If you are unsure if you’ll have time for homework, you can use the service which do homework for money. For those who are unemployed and hope that a graduate degree will be the jump start they need, quicker is better, so attending school full-time makes sense. Anyone in a technical major may find they learn better and are more confident in their education attending classes in-person.

How Will You Pay for It?

There are more options available to pay for graduate school than for undergraduate degrees. You can cover costs with student loans, but you may be able to reduce what you owe through grad assistant positions or working as a research assistant for one of your professors. Many employers offer tuition reimbursement that can cover some or all of your education costs. Talk to your benefits manager to see if this is an option. Make sure you understand the terms of the agreement. Most require you remain employed with the company for a particular period after earning your degree, or you will need to repay the money.

Will It Be Worth It?

One hesitation you may have before taking the plunge is if the time and money invested will pay off. Look at others who have the type of job you want. If the majority of those people have higher degrees, it is probably a good investment. There will always be people who go against the odds and succeed, but there is no reason to make things more difficult for yourself than they need to be. If you are considering a career change, earning a master’s in a related field can give you the credibility you need to transition. You may have to take a few prerequisite courses in math or science if you had a more liberal arts education and are interested in a STEM career. Even so, earning a graduate degree often makes more sense than going for a second bachelors.

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