Congratulations! You’ve got your bachelor’s degree in hand along with a sudden bonanza of free time. Perhaps, though, since you are still in the zone, you are considering a graduate degree. You want to keep going along the higher education trail. Great idea, and I am all for it! But before you dive in, there are some questions you should probably ask of yourself. This is a bigger decision than you may realize.
Much like your first year of college is not like the 13th grade of high school, graduate study is not two more years of undergraduate work. It’s entirely different. As a graduate student, you learn to become a scholar, a deep thinker and a researcher.
Not to be discouraging in any way, I just want you to have clear eyes about what will be required of you if decide to go higher.
So, here is a short, completely unscientific quiz to see if you have the right mindset to continue. Ready?
- Are you prepared to be an independent learner, and to discover new knowledge on your own?
- Do you have a clear sense of the area of concentration you would like to study, and an intense desire to know more?
- If so, do you absolutely love it enough to spend two years dedicated to it?
- Are you ready to challenge your personal thought paradigms even further than you did in undergraduate studies?
- As you prepared to regularly submit your scholarly work to the critical review of your faculty members and peers in the discipline (otherwise known as publishing in journals)?
- Is your writing sound, free of grammatical errors and flawed arguments?
- Are you familiar with academic style writing guides, like the APA (American Psychological Association), MLA (Modern Language Association), Chicago Style and others? Are you practiced in writing in the style preferred by your chosen area of study?
- Are you going to graduate school as a refuge from real life, or to elevate yourself to the next level of personal development or in your career?
- Is there a plan in place to pay for it?
Scoring: I’ll make this easy. If you answered “no” to two or more of these questions, you should give serious thought to whether you are ready. A little time away from higher education is not always a bad thing. If you miss it, that is a good sign. Either way, call me. I am happy to help you decide.