- Career Exploration
- Jobs and Internships
- Graduate School and Pre-Professional Programs
- International Study and Work
- Public Interest Opportunities
Exploring Graduate School Options
While some pursue a graduate degree simply for the learning experience, few can afford the time and money for such an endeavor. For most, the decision to attend graduate school is based on the desire to achieve a specific career goal.
It is important to first select a career goal and then research graduate programs that will help you reach your goal. Perhaps you want to be a professor, a municipal planner, a nutritionist, an investment banker, or an educational psychologist.
Is graduate school right for you?
Before making the important decision to attend graduate school, carefully weigh the time commitment, financial considerations, personal adjustments and sacrifices, and readiness to pursue graduate level work. Assess the value of a graduate degree in terms of earning potential, entry into a profession, advancement and competitiveness. Seek guidance from your faculty, people in the profession and/or one of Amherst’s career counselors.
When to attend graduate school
The average age of matriculation into graduate school is shifting. There is a clear trend in many fields towards delaying entry into graduate school for a few years after receiving a bachelor's degree, especially in the professional programs. Many schools are looking for more maturity and work experience in their applicants. There are, of course, some programs that seek applicants coming right out of undergraduate school. It is important to research this carefully in your chosen field to determine the best time for application.
Some things to consider:
- How long will it take?
- For whom am I doing this?
- How much will it cost?
- How motivated am I right now?
- Should I go now or work for a while first?
- What can the degree do for me?
- What can I offer the program?
What are your reasons for wanting to attend graduate school?
- “I want to be a researcher or college professor.”
- “I don’t know what else to do.”
- “I have a strong desire to be an expert in a field.”
- “I can put off paying my college loan.”
- “A graduate degree will give me better job choices.”
- “My parents expect me to go.”
Examine your reasons honestly and carefully. Are they logical? How committed are you?