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Should I Go to Graduate School?

By Joe Aguilar

Graduate degrees can be profitable. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics claims that workers with master's degrees had median weekly earnings of $1,140 in 2006. Graduate school may not be right for everyone, however. Not only can master's degrees require large investments of both time and money, some career paths may not require a master's degree. Before applying to a campus or online master's degree program, make sure that online grad school is the right choice for you.

Would You Make a Good Grad Student?

To gauge your potential for graduate school success, ask yourself some probing questions:

  • Do you like to write research papers?
  • Would you mind living on a modest university stipend?
  • Can you maintain high grades?
  • Are you truly excited about your proposed field of study?
  • Can you sacrifice social occasions for schoolwork?
  • Do you enjoy reading academic books?

Research Your Future Career

The more you learn about your future field, the better you can gauge the worth of a graduate degree. For instance, lawyers, doctors, and architects almost always need advanced degrees. On the other hand, accountants, mechanics, and private school teachers usually don't require master's degrees.

Put Together a Financial Plan

Try to prepare financially for your master's degree program. In addition to student loans, you may want to investigate scholarships, assistantships, and research grants at your college. Contact a university financial aid advisor to explore your aid choices. Also, you may want to look at job possibilities at your university. Many colleges offer attractive tuition remission packages for employees. Or, if you are currently working, ask your employer about tuition assistance programs.

If attending graduate school full time could compromise your current job, consider an online master's degrees program, which allows you to study after work or during weekends.

Sources

Bureau of Labor Statistics


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