Thinking about going to graduate school?

Roary, FIU mascot, wearing graduation gown and posing with the cap in the middle

Graduate school is an important personal, financial and emotional investment. A graduate level degree can provide both additional education and added skillsets required for your career goals. FIU’s College of Arts, Sciences & Education career team suggests you consider the following:

What is your why?

Take time to self-reflect on your intentions for pursuing graduate school.

  • Why do I want to attend graduate school?
  • What would I want to study? Does it align with my long-term career goal?
  • Do I know the specific degree I would want or need?
  • What would this degree allow me to do that I can’t already do with my B.A./B.S.?
  • Am I choosing this because I’m scared of not finding a job right now?
  • Am I choosing this because my friends and family are pressuring me to go?

When do you want to go?

If you decide that graduate school is the right choice for you, your next question may be “when”? Know that there is no “right” time to go. Some students opt to go straight into graduate school because of the academic momentum or because it’s needed for their respective field. Other students opt to go later to get confirmation in the workforce that they want a higher degree in that field or so that their future employer can help offset costs for graduate classes. 

How will you afford graduate school?

Graduate school tuition is costlier than tuition at the undergraduate level. Addionally, funding options at the graduate level are limited. Federal student loans are available, but interest starts accruing immediately vs. post-graduation. It’s important to borrow responsibly and think about how you will manage the repayment.

Scholarships and grants are the best types of funding because it does not require payback; however, opportunities for this specific funding may be dependent on your FAFSA application. Graduate assistantships and fellowships are also very common – these types of opportunities provide you with work experience during your studies and can help cover a portion or the complete cost of your studies. The most overlooked source of funding is your employer. If you are currently employed and are planning to stay there during your graduate studies, have a conversation with your employer to find out if they have a tuition reimbursement or tuition waiver program.

Resources

FIU has many resources that can help you when making the decision to attend graduate school:

Attend the Panther Preparedness: Graduate School webinar on Nov. 17 from 2 – 3 pm to learn more. Register here.