If you want to get ahead in the workplace, having a graduate degree is the best way to go. Whereas once upon a time having a bachelor’s degree was enough to help you stand out in the job market, this is not so much the case anymore. College attendance has expanded at an unprecedented rate over the past two-three decades, and the job market has been infiltrated with a surge of resumes who meet this basic requirement. Earning a graduate degree is now the best way to ensure that your resume stands out above the rest, and in many situations can help you become eligible for a promotion.
Before you apply for a graduate degree program, there are a few things that you need to closely consider.
Here are 5 things you should think about before taking this next step:
- What are your precise goals? Earning a bachelor’s degree in a broad subject area makes sense. Most people earn their college degrees around the age of 22. At that age you might not have any substantial work experience at this point, or a clear understanding of what you want to do with your life. Keeping your degree broad is a great way to keep it versatile. However, you shouldn’t make this mistake with your graduate degree. Know what your precise goals are before taking that next step.
- When do you want to earn your degree? There are many graduate programs out there, and some take longer to complete than others. Some online programs offer part time options where you can finish your degree in a few years, while others require you to finish faster.
- How much time do you have weekly? Remember that credit hours are based on how many hours per week you can dedicate to class time. You should double that number to include any extra hours dedicated to completing class assignments.
- What are your financing options? A lot of people think that graduate school isn’t an option for them because they don’t have the financial means ready to go, but most schools have financial assistance in place for that exact reason. Talk to the school you are interested in attending to see what financial programs are available.
- Online or on campus? Some graduate schools have options for both online and on-campus classes, others are exclusively one or the other. If you are balancing a full load of family responsibilities in addition to full-time work, then online classes may make the most sense. However, if you have the time and don’t trust yourself to manage it, then you may want to sign up for classes in person.