Many people who are at a crossroads in their careers have at least entertained the idea of enrolling in some sort of graduate degree programs. For those who already have their undergraduate degree and have gotten a few years of work experience under their belts, grad school can be a great way to specialize their skills, take the next step in their careers or change careers entirely.
According to the Graduate Management Admissions Council, the makers of the GMAT exam, those who complete a two-year MBA course have found their base salary increase by as much as 75% over their earnings before completing their degree. So, graduate school can really pay off.
If you're already working and are planning to enroll in grad school, there are a few things you can do to make the process much easier and increase your likelihood of success.
Find the best program for you – There are many different programs for getting a graduate degree. From online courses to night and weekend classes, there is sure to be one that fits your needs. The key is to be realistic about your time and what you are capable of doing; that way, you'll be able to maximize your chances of success. If you know that you learn best by listening to an instructor, maybe attending classes is a better option than an online program.
Start the application process early – Graduate school admissions can be a complicated and daunting process. Start your search early and be prepared to jump through a few hurdles. Try to look at it as demonstrating how determined you are. It might take some time to find the right program and complete the application process, but it will be worth it.
Schedule your weeks in advance – When you're trying to go to school and work full-time, time management is crucial. You'll need to plan your weeks out in advance and write down all work, school and family obligations. This way, you'll be able to plan for those essays and birthday parties. Without a clear time management strategy, you're likely to feel in over your head more often than you'd like.
Know what testing you'll need – Depending on the graduate degree program you're interested in, you may be required to take specific tests that are sort of like the SAT for undergraduate admissions. The most common are the GRE and the GMAT. Find out which one you need and take the time to prep for them.
Use campus resources – If you begin to struggle with time management or your course load, seek help through your campus resources. Many people start to fall behind and just try to work harder. This rarely works and can backfire and make a small problem snowball. It's better to err on the side of caution and seek help before a small problem becomes a huge one.
Getting a graduate degree takes a great deal of hard work. The key to juggling your job and your studies is preparation and great time management skills.
Have you considered getting a graduate degree? Why or why not? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
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