Continuing your studies and going to graduate school is a great way to improve your skills, earning potential, and build the career that you want. For some careers, having a graduate degree is vital. For others, it can be an excellent bonus that helps you to get ahead or qualified for the next level. If you’ve decided that a graduate program is essential for you, you need to decide what to study and where you should study. Talking from experience, choosing the right program can take some serious thought, and everyone is suited to something different. Nursing schools, for example, must be credentialed with certain organizations in order to be appropriately qualified. Here are some of the things you might want to think about before you choose the right program.
What do you need for your career goals?
A good place to start when you’re choosing a graduate program is with your career goals in mind. Where do you want to be in a few years and what do you need to get there? There might be a very specific degree that you need to do the roles that you want. Or there could be a broader set of skills that your career will require, which you could develop by studying a range of subjects. If you have yet to choose a career path but know you want to study more, you could choose something with wider applications. I got my Master’s of Science in Nursing in Healthcare Systems Management because at the time I was in a management role and thought I wanted to continue that path. While the information from my degree is invaluable, I quickly learned that administration was grossly not what I wanted nor expected. Now i’m pursuing a different path.
Which subjects are best suited to the skills you need?
You might be looking at a choice of different programs and topics to study. If you have several options that might help you in your career, you should think about the skills that you need. If you’re looking to move into a leadership role eventually, you might consider an MBA or courses related to operations management. You should consider which aspects of a certain industry or career path interest you the most. Which courses will give you the skills you need for the roles you want?
What do different schools have to offer?
Of course, you also have different schools to consider. Firstly, you might want to think about whether to study at a school in person or to do an online course. Studying online can help you to fit your studies around other commitments, such as your work or family – but keep in mind online education requires A LOT of self discipline and motivation. Another thing to consider is whether any schools are particularly good for certain programs but, more importantly, whether they work for you specifically. You can look at things like the supervisors who you might be working with, styles and methods of study, and facilities that are available.
Decide which factors matter most
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which factors are most important when you choose a grad school and program ( i.e. do they require the GRE or GMAT or letters of recommendation). You might need to stay in a particular location, which can limit your choice to schools nearby or online programs. You might see being mentored by certain supervisors as more important than the exact content of the courses you will be studying. You need to think about what matters to you when you make your decision.
If you’re going to continue your studies, make sure it’s worth it. Think carefully about why you’re doing it and the best program to choose to get the most out of your money and time.