Why Would I Go, or Not Go, to Graduate School?

Graduate school is a considerable investment of time, energy, and money. There's much to consider in both making the decision to apply and attending to all the steps to get there. Make a thoughtful, informed decision!

Good reasons to go to graduate school are:

  • I absolutely love what I'm studying and want my life to revolve around this topic. I've thought about becoming an academic and would enjoy that life style.
  • I know I want to be pursue work as a _____, and I've learned that I need to have a graduate degree to do that work.

Bad reasons to go to graduate school and that are likely to make you regret it include:

  • You don't know what else to do,
  • You want to postpone paying loans
  • You want to postpone making other life decisions

Graduate school, more so than undergraduate, is about becoming more focused on a particular academic field and preparing for your future. Before you invest in an advanced degree, you want to be clear about

  • Where can a graduate degree in that field take you?
  • What are common career paths for people who pursue graduate work in that field?
  • Would you enjoy those career paths or work options?
  • Is the advanced degree actually necessary for what you want to do?

Seek Information and Advice to help you make a clear, informed decision.

  • Some of the best sources of advice about graduate school programs are your faculty. They know you; they are familiar with your work at Hampshire and your interests. They can talk with you in an informed way about this decision.
  • Other sources of advice are people working in your field of interest. They often know if a graduate degree, or work experience, or some combination of the two, makes one more competitive in their field.
    • See SPARC's networking guide for help with the process of seeking information and advice from people working in your field of interest.

Ultimately, you must make your decision. A wise choice can be the launching point into a stimulating academic experience and a successful career. A poor choice can cost you thousands of dollars, waste years and do little or nothing for your future.

Continue to When Should I Go?

Return to main Graduate School page