3 Signs You’re Ready for Grad School | Top Universities

3 Signs You’re Ready for Grad School

By Guest Writer

Updated April 16, 2021 Updated April 16, 2021

Guest post: David Recine

To grad school, or not to grad school? For those who have recently completed their undergraduate degree, or are about to, that is the question. Graduate school can definitely be a life-changing event. And under certain circumstances, it’s a great decision, maybe the best decision someone can make. So should you go to grad school? Here are three things to consider.

1. A graduate degree would boost your career

Are you having trouble finding work in your chosen field? Or are you perhaps facing a pay or promotion ceiling in your career? If you want to better your employment situation, a graduate degree might be for you. Research by the United States Bureau of Labor reveals that graduate degree holders have higher median earnings and lower unemployment rates than those with bachelor’s degrees.

Of course, to know for certain if grad school will improve your work situation, you have to research your own career path. Check job listings. Are there jobs you want to advance to that require a graduate degree? If so, how plentiful are those jobs? Consider consulting with a supervisor or mentor too. Ask them if a master’s or doctoral degree allow you to get a raise or promotion in your chosen field. And make sure going to grad school won’t hurt your career. Under some circumstances, an advanced degree can prevent you from finding work, causing employers to see you as overqualified or too expensive. This can happen, for instance, to some K-12 teachers with a master’s degree.

If you’ve done your homework and it looks like going to grad school really will enhance your career, that’s one reason you should go to grad school. There are other factors to consider too, of course.

2. You’re ready for the academic challenge

If you’ve been out of school for a year or more, you may be caught off-guard by the coursework and pace of school if your return for a graduate degree. In fact, even some students who go straight from undergrad to grad school have difficulties adjusting.

Graduate classes are a lot harder than undergraduate ones. Not only are the readings and assignments more advanced and challenging, but the academic expectations are also significantly higher. In an undergraduate degree, students are usually able to stay in school and graduate with a C average (70% or higher). But in graduate studies, students are seldom permitted to complete their studies unless they maintain a B average (80% or more) in each of their classes. Any class with a lower grade than that would need to be retaken – this sets a fast, high-pressure pace for your studies!

One of the best ways to measure your readiness is to look at graduate school admissions tests. Most grad school admissions offices ask for scores in either the GRE or GMAT. Generous amounts of free preparation materials for these exams can be found on the official GRE and official GMAT websites. These test prep materials can help you understand graduate-level reading, writing, and math expectations. This in turn can help you decide whether grad school is right for you. It’s also a chance to carefully assess which exam you’ll want to take if you apply for a graduate degree.

3. You LOVE your field of study

This is perhaps the most important factor in your decision to attend graduate school. Graduate school is, as mentioned above, a demanding and time-consuming endeavor. Graduate studies will take up much of your time and dominate your life. If you don’t love what you’re studying, you can be in for a pretty miserable time, and you may lack the endurance you need to complete your degree.

However, if you have a true passion for your field of study, then grad school will be fun for you. It will be an intense kind of fun, but fun nonetheless. And if you have chosen a graduate degree that can enhance your career, then your doctoral, master’s, or professional program will be a rewarding kind of fun, both intrinsically and extrinsically.

David Recine is a GRE Expert at Magoosh, a website that helps students prepare for the GRE and other exams. David and his colleagues know that GRE fees can add up quickly, so they offer affordable GRE prep and lots of free resources. 

Find your perfect grad school at the QS World Grad School Tour

If you think you’re ready for grad school, why not join a QS World Grad School Tour event near you? This is a chance to meet representatives of leading universities and grad schools from around the world, discuss your academic and career options, and get personal answers to all your questions. You’ll be able to join free seminars, get a complimentary copy of the QS Top Grad School Guide, and be eligible to apply for exclusive scholarships.

This article was originally published in July 2016 . It was last updated in April 2021

Want more content like this Register for free site membership to get regular updates and your own personal content feed.

+ 96 others
saved this article

+ 97 others saved this article

Explore Events

Get assisted by higher education experts

Our expert teams can help start your academic journey by guiding you through the application process.