Money Matters

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College Grads: Considering Graduate School? 

 

Provided by RBC Wealth Management
and Dave Dupont

 

With the disruptions to the economy, many are considering graduate school to gain academic experience and to develop a sustainable career path. If you are thinking about graduate school, there are many questions to think through before taking action to pursue an advanced degree.

When is the best time to go? 

Never go to graduate school by default. Furthering your education without a plan is the top reason for a burnout. Graduate school is not simply an extension of your undergraduate program. Be prepared for a more demanding course load and greater time and monetary commitments. Opinions vary about how wise it is to go directly to graduate school after completing undergraduate work. Recent graduates often find that momentum, sharpened study skills and fewer obligations outside of school can help. For others, those factors can contribute to a burnout.

Keep in mind that much of your decision about attending graduate school right away depends on your profession. Graduates should be sure to assess their future professional field.

What is your career goal? 

It is important to have a clear understanding of what you want to do with your career and how obtaining a degree will help you reach your goals. Do the proper research to determine if having an advanced degree is looked upon favorably in your field.

Which is the best school for you?

Since graduate programs are much more tailored and focused, the choice of where to attend graduate school is also important. Experts often advise students to avoid continuing their education at the same school at which they completed their undergraduate program, so they are able to gain new experience and perspectives.

Can you afford it? 

Assess your financial situation before jumping back into school. You may have to readjust your personal investment and saving strategies to make graduate school a feasible option. Also, consider the financial aid offered by schools you’re considering. Many offer low-rate loans or tuition reimbursement in exchange for helping with research or teaching. If you’re currently working, contact a human resources representative with your employer to see if you qualify for a tuition reimbursement program.

Ultimately, the benefits of graduate school tend to outweigh not pursuing an advanced degree. But, as in all big life decisions, your unique situation should be the determining factor. Carefully weigh your options and the right solution will present itself.

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