Grad & Professional Schools
Are you considering pursuing a graduate degree? The ASPIRE Office is here to help you explore this path and determine if it’s the right choice for you. Please note that if you are considering graduate school in a health profession field (such as medicine, dentistry, public health or nursing), you should contact the PreHealth Office for assistance.
As a starting point in your consideration of graduate school, here are some questions to ask yourself. If you answer “YES” to these, graduate school might the right choice for you!
1. Do you have specific career goals?
Graduate school focuses and deepens your area of expertise and makes you qualified for specific careers. You may not want to jump into graduate school if your career goals are still very broad.
2. Are you qualified for admission to a graduate program that fits your career interests?
Many graduate programs have strict admission requirements. Familiarize yourself with the entry requirements for the programs that interest you. Do you need to take an entrance exam? What is the minimum GPA? Do you have faculty members and supervisors who can write positive letters of recommendation for you?
3. Are you willing to live frugally for the years you are in graduate school and possibly go into debt?
Even if you get funding from your program (as a research or teaching assistant), graduate students do not make a lot of money. You need to be committed to “light” living while in school. Also, you may need to take out loans to supplement your income or pay tuition if you do not get a funded position. Most funded positions do not include a salary for the summer months. You will likely need to find alternative income for those periods or use loans.
It is important to know that certain programs (like law and business) do not traditionally fund their students through assistantships. Students in these fields typically work during school or use student loans.
4. Will a graduate degree make you more qualified for the career you want?
Make sure you’ve done your homework about your desired career and the importance of a graduate degree. Find out if a graduate degree is truly going to make you more marketable for employment.
Finally, don’t go to graduate school just because you don’t know what else to do; you should only be going if you know it will help you with your career goals.
How the ASPIRE Office Can Help
We are excited to help you explore the possibility of advancing your education through a graduate degree! Our office staff can assist you in the following ways:
- Meet with students to discuss their graduate or professional school questions and concerns
- Review personal statements and provide feedback
- Meet with students to discuss fellowship opportunities for graduate education and study abroad programs available for graduate students
- Conduct mock-interviews
Remember: Always work closely with faculty in your own department as you plan for graduate school as well. ASPIRE cannot replace the field-specific knowledge that departments can provide!
Contact us to schedule an appointment.