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No matter where you are in your undergraduate career, whether it’s your senior year or just your first semester of college, the idea of someday going to graduate school will eventually cross your mind.

Although the possibility of continuing your higher education and pursuing a graduate degree may seem daunting, coming to a decision doesn’t have to be.

If you have graduate school on the brain but aren’t completely sure about what to do, be sure to consider these factors as you make up your mind.

Career goals

The first thing you should think about when considering graduate school is whether or not it is even compatible with whatever your career aspirations are.

A good way to gauge this is by applying to internships or fellowships that will give you professional experience in whatever it is you might pursue in graduate school.

When making an investment as large as a graduate degree, you should be sure that you’re not getting yourself stuck in a career that isn’t right for you.

Another excellent way to see if graduate school is right for you is by asking a professor or industry professional for advice. Throughout your undergraduate career, you’re bound to come across plenty of professors, some of whom likely teach graduate-level courses in their fields.

What better way to learn more about a career than by getting advice from those who teach it for a living?

If you do decide that a graduate degree is what’s best for your career, picking the right school is key for this next chapter of your educational journey.

School

For those who decide to go back to school, the institution where you choose to pursue your next degree can make or break your graduate school experience.

Location, tuition costs and the quality of the program you’re interested in should all be considered when looking for the right school.

The city or state your prospective schools are located in can play a huge part in what you get out of a graduate program.

A great example is UH’s part-time master’s of business administration program, which allows students to balance work and school as they work towards their degree.

The best part? The program, ranked in the top 50 in the country by the U.S. & World News Report, is in a diverse city with the second-highest economic output in the South that happens to house nearly 20 Fortune 500 companies.

Of course, the financial impact of extending your college career for a graduate degree can vary from institution to institution.
Depending on what school you choose, a master’s degree can run you anywhere from $30,000 to $120,000, according to educationdata.org.

So, if you soon start the process of finding the right graduate school for you, be money-conscious when weighing your options.

Financials

When it comes to education, especially graduate school, nothing is cheap, and students often end up racking up large amounts of debt to pay for tuition and other college expenses.

On average, someone who completes their master’s degree will end up with just over $72,000 in debt, according to educationdata.org.
Looking at a number that large and the word “debt” in the same sentence can be unnerving, but you must remember that higher education pays.

Having a master’s or professional or doctoral degree can make you thousands of dollars more a year than someone with just a bachelor’s degree, a 2020 study by Northeastern University found.
That same study found that those with master’s or doctoral degrees are less likely to be unemployed, which can be reassuring for a young graduate entering the workforce.
If you choose to go to graduate school, know that you are going to spend a lot of money regardless of where you go.

Yes, you should be conscious of the resources you spend in pursuit of the education and career you want, but what’s important is whether or not you believe the trade-off is worth it.

No matter what you choose to do, being informed and doing your research is the first step in making the right decision.

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