A growing number of people are enrolling in graduate school now more than ever. This is partly in response to a rising demand from various employers that require a master’s degree for competitive roles. An advanced degree can certainly deliver a much-needed wake-up call or kickstart your journey to a new, more satisfying career. In most cases, it can even increase your earning potential.
However, if you do not have it all carefully planned out, graduate school can leave you with limited value addition and a lot of debt. Like any other major life decision, this one requires a substantial amount of research, thought and courage. To aid your dilemma, here are a few motives that you may consider while deciding the way forward -
1. Area of Study
You must have a clear sense of your field of interest/specialization, and you should be confident about completing the program with the end goal in mind. It is a fact that people perform better and learn more when their studies align with their values. Additionally, as artificial intelligence and automation continue to replace roles, take a look at options that help you reskill and upskill to remain relevant.
The more specific you can get about your interests, the stronger your application will be. If you do not yet have a clear sense of what you would like to concentrate on, take some time to meditate on the topic and hold off on applications till you are sure of your decision.
2. Prospects post graduate school
A growing number of employers are looking to hire applicants with advanced degrees than ever before. Thus, the ROI (return on investment) is a crucial factor when deciding whether to return to school. Set some time aside to research what you will be able to do with your degree after graduation – participate in informational interviews and speak with university alums to get a better understanding.
If you choose to nurture your curiosity and passion by taking on a challenging program, your expertise will set you apart from other candidates - and increase the chances of securing you a job that you enjoy.
3. Financial Aspects
The financial aftermath of attending graduate school will have a significant role to play in your decision. While most PhD programs are fully or partially funded, master's programs offer less financial assistance and often require taking student loans to cover your tuition and other expenses. Many programs offer financial aid, merit-based scholarships, teaching assistantships, and student loans with manageable interest rates.
A well-chosen program is an investment in your future, and with careful planning you should be able to pay back your loans when you have become professionally established.
4. Application timeline
The timeline for admissions differs across the world. However, in most cases, applications for PhD programs are due in December or January while deadlines for master's programs tend to be in January, February, or March. No matter which program you opt for, you will need to allocate sufficient time to get your applications in order. The application process would consist of the following steps -
If you are worried about returning to school after a considerable gap – worry not! Many programs appreciate candidates who have taken the time to contemplate on their career advancement. All you need to do is take the first step – do your research, plan, prepare and make an informed decision.
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Source: Press Release
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