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Grad School Isn't for Everyone ... Or Is It?

UL Grad School -- 04/13/2016

You can convince yourself that there are plenty of reasons not to go to grad school. Maybe it never seems to be the right time, or you just can’t see yourself back in the classroom.

Well, it’s time to do some myth-busting. The truth is: now is the time for you to go to grad school. Let’s break down the barriers keeping you from pursuing your passions, getting the career you deserve, and gaining the knowledge you need to get there.

I don’t have time for grad school

You’re probably really busy -- that’s understandable. However, grad school doesn’t have to take over your entire life. Different graduate degrees offer different levels of flexibility. Sure, all graduate programs require a time commitment, but you can decide how much of a commitment you want to make.

Online graduate programs let you take classes on your own time; hybrid graduate degrees (like UL Lafayette’s master’s in educational leadership) let you take some classes online and other classes on campus. Other programs are tailored toward working professionals, like our MBA program and our education graduate programs, with classes in the evenings and on weekends. And ultimately, you can decide how many classes to take each semester, so you can commit to a workload that you know you can handle.

I don’t know what graduate program I should choose

Choosing the right graduate degree for you should be a process that includes both introspection and practical analysis.

First, be honest with yourself and ask “What are my passions?” That honesty can go a long way in helping you determine what you want to study. In grad school, you can narrow your field of study to really explore a topic that interests you, so think about the classes or subjects that were really exciting and intriguing for you. Then, reach out to your professors or advisor from undergrad and ask for their advice. They can help lead you to a program that fits your passions that you may have never thought of yourself.

The practical analysis happens when you start to think about what happens after grad school. If you like your current career path, you can pick a graduate program that will help you advance in your company or industry. If you’re not sure what career you want after you graduate, look to a program’s notable alumni -- if you can imagine yourself in their shoes, there’s a good chance that program is for you.

I’m happy with my job, so I don’t need to go to grad school

You’re happy now, but it’s a good idea to prep for the future. Do you eventually want a promotion? Do you want to contribute even more to your field or business? You’ll need a graduate degree for that. As the job market becomes more competitive, those top-dog positions require that you have the education to lead a successful team and implement new ideas.

And having your graduate degree means you have higher earning potential. In the U.S., the median salary for adults with a master’s degree is more than $10,000 higher than for those who have only an undergraduate degree. Putting in the time now will pay off in the future.Graduate Programs & Degrees

I can’t afford to pay for grad school

One of the biggest misconceptions about graduate school is that it’s painfully expensive and you’ll be saddled with debt. That is not the case if you choose your program carefully.

Most graduate schools offer plenty of options to help you partially or completely pay for your tuition. Financial aid and loans should not be the primary way to pay for grad school -- if a graduate program wants you to enroll, they’ll help you with the funding to get there. For more information on grad school funding, see our guide to grad school funding opportunities.

My test scores/GPA aren’t high enough to get in

To be clear, your undergraduate academic performance and test scores are an important part of your grad school application because they help predict how successful you’ll be in grad school. But they’re not everything! At a lot of universities, including UL Lafayette, your application is reviewed using a portfolio approach -- which means we look at all parts of your application, including these things but also letters of reference, writing samples, your resume, and your statement of purpose, without placing too much weight on one piece.

When you’re applying to grad school, experience counts for a lot -- whether you got that experience as an undergrad or in the workforce. Don’t discredit anything you’ve learned along the way, because they’ve helped you get here: graduate school!

Find your graduate degree today!

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