Some of you may be in your last or second-to-last year of your undergraduate degree, and you may be considering applying to graduate school. This is another big life decision, and you shouldn’t take it lightly. Here’s how to know if a graduate school program is right for you.

Are you actually interested in the topic?

Although this seems obvious, don’t attend graduate school for the sake of attending graduate school. For example, graduate school requires a lot of self-motivation to complete work, and you won’t be motivated to graduate if you aren’t actually interested in the topic you are studying. If you find yourself drawn to an area of your studies in your undergraduate degree, use grad school to learn more about something that you won’t get enough of in undergrad. 

Are you ready for independent work?

Whether your grad program is course-based or thesis-based, you’re going to have to work more independently than you did during your undergrad degree. Graduate supervisors can vary in their level of supervision of their graduate students, but most of the time, it can be pretty hands off. Before applying to grad school, ask yourself if you are in a place in your life to hold yourself accountable and motivate yourself to finish your degree.

Are you ready for it academically?

Most graduate programs require good grades. Even if the admissions average is lower, you may need a higher average to be considered for scholarships and funding. Graduate school will have some more difficult courses, so if you have not succeeded in your undergrad degree due to the workload, considering other options may be a better fit. 

Have you looked into the finances?

Making sure that graduate school is financially feasible for you should be a large factor in your decision to apply or not. Although there are lots of options for scholarships and funding, graduate school isn’t cheap. Some programs might not offer scholarships. Also, professional programs like law and medical school are significantly more expensive. Before you decide if you want to further your education, consider the financial implications.

I hope these questions help you with your decision making process. Treat graduate school as a major life decision that includes many different factors. Graduate school isn’t for everybody, so make sure it is right for you if you take this big step… Best of luck in your future endeavours! 

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