Higher education can help take your career to the next level (and your income along with it.) However, taking steps towards going back to school is nothing to be taken lightly. You may wonder if you can do it or if you’re too old. Just do it! With that said, preparation is key.
Here are some things you should know before applying for graduate school:
1. You Need to Study
Remember when you had to take the ACT or SAT to get into college? You will have to take one or more standardized tests to get into grad school. The test you take will depend on the program you want to get into. The MCATs are the test for people looking to get into a medical profession. The LSATs are the test for people trying to get into law school. The GRE is for more generalized advanced degrees, such as in business, marketing, or communications.
2. You Need to Pick the Right Program
The grad school programs available today cover just about anything. This variety also means that they can be very different from each other, too. Be careful to look at the program you want to apply to. Look at the required classes to ensure you are going to get the education you want. You should also compare different programs to see which one will be the best one for you. For example, if you’re an RN who wants to advance your career, you’d want to look at several master of nursing education online programs before deciding. If you are still having trouble after comparing all of the options, talk to a counselor at the school to get their advice.
3. You Need to Get Accepted
You can’t just wake up one day and decide you want to go to grad school. You have to apply to the school of your choice. This will require a lot of work on your end. You will need decent grades in undergrad, good GED, MCAT, or LSAT scores, recommendations, and possibly an essay. Even then, you still might not get accepted into the program of your choice. You should be prepared to apply to a few schools to give yourself a backup option.
4. It’s Expensive
Earning an undergraduate degree is an expensive endeavour, and grad school is no different. You need to be prepared for how to pay for tuition. Consider staying in-state to help keep the tuition down. However, if you have been accepted into your dream school and have to move out of your state, there might be a few affordable housing options that you can explore. To find such places, you could look online for a helpful guide to finding a home when starting university, which might offer various tips that could be beneficial to you.
Furthermore, you could also consider getting loans or applying for grants to assist you on your journey to success. However you choose to cover the cost, you may not want to quit your day job for your educational aspirations just yet.
5. It’s Time Consuming
Grad school takes more time and effort than undergrad. Don’t go into thinking it’s something that you can do casually around the rest of the stuff going on in your life. If you go into it, you need to make it a priority and work hard. Start small with just a class or two to make things easier on yourself, especially if you have additional work or familial obligations.
You should take this next step in education for your family, but you should really do it for yourself. You will feel much better about yourself knowing that you are on a mission to improve yourself.