Tech & Analytics Newsletter: Is Graduate School Right for You?

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October 27, 2021 – Upcoming Events, Opportunities & Resources

As many of you are in the midst of gathering and writing documents to apply to graduate schools, many more of you are wondering if graduate school is right for you. Applying to and attending graduate school is a huge time commitment with financial costs so take some time on this decision.  

First, I ask you to dig deep to understand your motivation to attend graduate school. Is it to land your dream job?  Or, to make more money? Or, to dive deeper into a subject that brings out the “nerd” in you. I specifically love the latter reason, but if it is one of the former reasons, talk to professionals in your industry to ensure it is a fact that you will need a higher level degree to land the dream job or make more money, as those can be myths.  

If you decide to pursue graduate school, when is the best time to do so? Some programs (particular MPH and MBA programs) will make that decision for you because they require more experience before applying.  There are pros and cons to going straight to graduate school vs. taking a gap year(s). Here’s a few to note. If you go right away, you will be in student mode, and therefore, able to write research papers and take exams with more ease. The program may also open your eyes to new content and opportunities. If you wait, you will be able to apply the knowledge to previous experience, which will help you connect to the material at a deeper level.  There are many more reasons to consider, but in the end, YOU need to choose what works best for YOU.

Be sure to examine your values. What is important to you? A prestigious school? (Note: a prestigious school does not necessarily mean YOUR program is prestigious at that school). Supportive faculty mentors? Financial aid? To enjoy the city you will be living in for the next 2+ years? To connect with employers in that location and secure a job after graduation?  Of course, there are many more values you can prioritize and it is worth a full examination.

Last, if you plan to apply, when and how do you get started? Timelines can vary, but typically, applications are due in December/January of your senior year. This can vary with priority deadlines, rolling deadlines, and more. The majority of applicants work feverishly in the fall on CVs, essays, and entrance exams. Given that applying is essentially an additional class (in terms of time), I recommend getting a jump start during the summer. This will give you more breathing room to finalize docs, ask for letters of recommendation, and cross your t’s and dot your i’s. Always try to send your application earlier (as long as it is truly polished) so you can be notified if anything is missing and hit any priority deadlines.

We at Cawley are happy to discuss your decision making process as it comes to graduate school.  For more detailed information, check out our graduate guides which give more tips on questions to ask yourself, how to identify schools, and application materials to include. Last, check out this research article on the “kiss of deaths” in the graduate application process. While the article is written specifically for psychology programs, much of the information will be transferable when applying to all other programs.

All the best,
Jodi Schneiderman |
Assistant Director, Employer Relations and Industry Advising | Health, Science, and Technology

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Article of the Week

Should You Go to Graduate School?

Source: Harvard Business Review

What are the motives you should be considering if you are trying to decide whether or not to enroll in graduate school? How can you determine if the time — and especially the money — required to pursue a graduate education will actually pay off or not? This article outlines reasons one should go to graduate school and reasons one should not go to graduate school.

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