Thursday, 18 April 2013

8 Factors to Consider Before Coming to Grad School

Previously, I wrote a post on why you want to consider to pursue a post-graduate degree (click here if you have not read it). In this post, I want to highlight the important factors to consider before you apply for grad schools.

The factors to consider, starting from the highest importance, are listed below:
  1. Do you like research? This is a necessary condition that I mentioned in the previous post. It should be the first thing you ask yourself.
  2. What do you want to achieve by getting into grad school? If it is for better job opportunities, ask yourself is there no other way?
  3. What happens if things didn't turned out the way you wanted it to? Can you still find a job and move on with life?
  4. Tuition fee. If you need to pay more than $30k to complete a degree which cannot guarantee a job, then just don't do it. There are schools and degrees that doesn't require that much tuition fee. Take me for an example, I don't need to pay for my Master's degree. I have read a lot of stories how people go into debt because of education. So, please think rationally and seriously about the debt that you might incur.
  5. Career choices. We have to eat. So, let's face reality and ask ourselves what are the jobs out there that needs the skill sets you learned in grad school. It would be best to get into a field that has many industrial opportunities. For example, computer science. Remember, faculty position is hard to come by.
  6. Do you have dependents, e.g. kids? If you have kids, then it is going to be tough to focus on your research.
  7. Salary you get when you are in the work force. From what I know, if you get a Master's or a PhD, when you work, the salary you get is not that much different. So, if you are all for the higher pay, Master's degree would be more preferable than a PhD.
  8. Grad student lifestyle. If you were previously working, you want to ask yourself are you comfortable going back to the "poor" student life. However, if you were a student before, then you won't feel much difference in lifestyle.
That's basically all I would like to point out. Most of it comes from my experience in grad school. Some of it comes from these 2 sites, which I am listing them down:

1 comment:

  1. Found your blog through a comment you made on a New Yorker article, "The Impossible Decision." This post is really helpful, thanks for the advice!

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