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4 Great Reasons to Choose Grad School (and One Not-So-Good Reason)

"Success, go get it", written on a chalk board.

Fall is approaching and you may be reminiscing on the days when the end-of-summer meant back-to-school shopping. Before you jump on the graduate school bandwagon and starting looking at applications, take a moment to reflect on your real reasons for wanting to go to graduate school. New pens and notebooks are nice, but pursuing a graduate degree requires an investment of your time, money, and energy.

There are plenty of great reasons to go to graduate school. Four of them are:

  • You need a graduate degree to enter the field you are interested. Examples include practicing law, becoming a social worker, or teaching at a university level.
  •  Earning a graduate degree may be the next step to furthering your career. If you’ve been working in the fundraising and development sector but haven’t reached a senior-level position that you are interested in, a graduate degree that supports your career may be the boost you need to accept more responsibility and/or increase your income.
  • If you are feeling limited by some of your earlier life choices, a graduate degree may expand your options and increase your professional development. The networking opportunities, alumni connections, professors who are working in the field you are interested...these are all community benefits outside of the classroom setting that may open doors for you. 
  • Entering a graduate degree supports your love of learning and academic settings inspire you!

Graduate school may sound great, but there are red flag reasons you may be considering graduate school. One large one is:

  • You are using graduate school to avoid a larger issue in your life. Whatever it is that you are running away from isn’t going to simply disappear while you are in a program. Personal/family obligations, financial problems, a stalled job search, feeling lost...none of these are concerns that graduate school will erase. Instead, they will compound on the stress graduate school can cause and you won’t be able to make the most of your experience.

If you are still considering graduate school, then one step you can take now to start finding the right program is to apply your informational interviewing skills at one of our free graduate school fairs! This year, Idealist is hosting 10 fairs across the country to bring you schools and programs that all share a similar goal - supporting your social impact dreams:

Attend our grad fairs, speak directly with schools and programs of interest with you, connect with other professionals in your area, and meet some of the Idealist staff members! We’ll be sharing articles over the next few months to help you with your graduate school pursuits and hope to hear from you about what’s been useful for you.

By Jhia Jackson

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