Before you make this important decision, there are many things you should consider.
The number of American’s with an advanced degree has doubled since 2000. Despite the obvious benefits of attaining an academic degree, we live in extremely uncertain times where even having a degree doesn’t guarantee success in life.
1. Should I Go To Grad School
The reasons why so many people across the globe worked hard and spent a fortune or got into massive debt to earn a degree are easy to guess. Benefits of having a degree include, but are not limited to:
Greater earnings potential
Those with a master’s degree earn an average $2.7 million over their lifetime whereas those with a PhD earn as much as $3.3 million on average.
The moment you enter the job market, you will face a harsh reality that competition is intense. For this reason, 61 percent of employers say the skills required for their positions have evolved to require a higher level of education.
Having a degree will open many doors for you.
With these promising factors in mind, there are questions you need to answer in order to figure out if attending a specific grad school is the right choice for you.
What are you looking to achieve?
Are you hoping to gain more knowledge, specialize in your industry, change careers, earn a promotion, or increase your salary potential? You need to ensure that an advanced degree can actually help you attain your goal. Although almost every industry values an academic degree, the professional gain may be less clear for others. For example, Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix and Johnny Depp never took acting classes but their talent made them shine.
What kind of experience are you looking for?
Can you afford a full-time program, or do you have to keep working alongside? Can you move to another state if that’s where the best school is? Do you prefer a school with robust academic support or do you want one where classes are taught by professors with relevant industry experience that can also help you land your dream job.
Can you afford it?
Your degree should be worth the cost and time you will invest, such as by having ample job opportunities post-graduation.
2. Grad School Survival Tips
If you decided to embark on this journey, here are a few ways to help you make the most of it.
Find ways to stretch your finances
You need to find ways to save money in every way that you can. The place to begin is to find ways to trim your household expenses such as your Illuminating Company expenses. From getting a roommate to split the cost to adopting energy-conservation practices, every step counts as it will reduce the amount you have to pay.
Utilize tax breaks
As a student, you will be eligible for many perks and the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit is one of them. Make sure you are getting all the free money you can that comes with your student ID.
Make a budget and stick to it
Budgeting is a skill that will last you a lifetime as it will help you build healthy money habits and provide you with a roadmap to attain your financial goals.
Take the time to enjoy being a student
There will be hard work and maybe even a bit of pain, so it’s beyond important to go easy on yourself. You’re only human and you are bound to make mistakes- all that matters is that you learn from them so you do better next time. That is the concept of growth. To be most productive, relax when you are able and make the time for self-care and all those fun activities that also come with being a student.
Being book smart does not equal street smart and to succeed in life, you need both. Ideally, you have a degree both from an institution and the school of life, but if history has taught us anything, it is that life has no rules that cannot be broken. Everyone is different and it’s up to you to create your unique recipe for a successful life, with or without attending grad school.