Taylor is a current graduate student at the University of Central Florida studying International Studies. After graduating from West Virginia University with a bachelor’s degree in political science, Taylor decided to feed her love for knowledge and culture by backpacking through Central America and Western Europe. After traveling to more than a dozen countries around the world, Taylor seeks to use her interests in global affairs and human rights to contribute to developmental efforts.
Taylor has extensive knowledge in research and writing especially in political science. She is a contributing writer to an online news source, writing informative articles on global poverty and human rights issues. As a member of The League of Women Voters, Taylor blogs about election outcomes, local and national politics and any hot topics involving voter rights and political participation. She also has a travel blog, which discusses a number of different topics including backpacking solo as a woman, volunteering in developing countries and how to successfully travel on a budget. She is also a content writer for a non-profit, providing a scientific and analytical approach to issues of water contamination around the world.
So you finally graduated. Seeing that diploma mounted on the wall in your parent’s house gives you a sense of accomplishment and hope for your future endeavors. The question now is, what’s next? Unfortunately not everyone gets a job right out of college. This can be a scary time in a post-graduates life, uncertain of where you are headed next or how to get there. This leaves many individuals with the dilemma of whether to continue on with their education or buckle down on the search for a career.
There are many aspects of graduate school that need a considerate amount of thought. Applying for graduate schools can be a daunting task in itself, not to mention the countless hours and copious amounts of money it will take to earn a diploma. So how do you decide if getting a masters degree is right for you?
1. Consider your major
Your major plays a large role in whether or not to pursue a higher education. It is important to be honest and realistic about what you are looking to do with your major in the future and whether or not a masters degree is a necessary component in pursuing that goal. For some majors, having a masters degree means a much greater return, in terms of salary and job growth. However, jobs affiliated with certain majors do not require additional education. Take a look at websites such as Glassdoor or Payscale.com, this will give you a better sense of where your field stands in terms of salary and long term opportunities. Having this knowledge will better equip you in the decision making process.
2. Which school is right for you?
Take the time to really explore your options when it comes to schools. Choosing the right academic program is a crucial decision that will play a role in finding the most appropriate career. It is necessary to consider your current schedule as well, for example, do you plan on attending school part-time, or full-time? Do you prefer a program you can do online or directly on campus?
3. Application Process
The application process can be a tedious and time-consuming task. If you plan on starting your graduate career at a certain time of the year, it is imperative that you start taking the appropriate measures in order to get your application(s) in on time. One of the most important aspects of the application process is preparing for the GRE or the GMAT. These are standardized tests that some colleges require prospective students to take. It takes the average person about 3 months to properly prepare for these exams. As a student you must decide what is best for you, whether that be preparing for the test or seeking out schools that do not require an entry exam.
As most people know, graduate school is not cheap and every person is in a different financial state. This is important to consider when applying to graduate school. What is your current financial situation like, are you able to afford school and pay bills? What are your options for obtaining student loans, scholarships or grants? Applying for FASFA takes time, and requires you to meet a specific deadline for each academic year. Thinking about your finances and debts will help you create a realistic budget plan for the future.
5. Do your research
Since the financial crisis in 2008, unemployment rates have remained high, leaving recent graduate discouraged and confused on where they are headed. Many consider graduate school as an option to put off entering the professional world, unfortunately kicking the can down the road is not a good reason to continue your education. Really self reflect and consider the reasons why you want to enter a graduate program. After some research and thorough consideration, making your decision will be easier and more practical.