Should I go to grad school?
Graduate experience can help you take on more complicated, challenging positions and increase your earning potential.
If you're considering graduate school, consider these questions:
- Do you enjoy your field enough to commit to between one and seven more years of education, depending on the degree?
- Can you afford and/or are you willing to take out loans to cover your expenses for one to seven more years of education?
- What are your goals as a result of going to graduate school?
- What do the professors and professionals in your field recommend?
- Are you excited about continuing your education, or do you need workforce experience before making a decision?
- Are you considering graduate school for professional reasons or are you just trying to postpone entering the workforce?
- Does your field require an advanced degree?
Finding a grad-school program
If you feel confident that grad school is the right choice for you, the next step is to do a little research and find the schools whose programs most interest you. For this research, we recommend:
- visiting the University Libraries (and other databases), as well as DU's Office of Graduate Studies.
- asking professors and professionals in your field to share their impressions of the programs you're interested in.
- asking current students to share their experiences in those programs.
- requesting brochures and information from the programs.
- visiting the schools you are considering and meeting with faculty if possible.
It's important to choose a program that will support your career goals and learning style. Here are a few questions we recommend asking to determine a program's fit:
- What is the faculty-to-student ratio?
- What are the faculty research interests?
- What is the location and format of the program?
- What is the program's reputation?
- What percentage of students complete the program?
- What percentage of applicants are accepted?
- What scholarship, grant and fellowship opportunities are available?
- What areas of specialization are available?
- What courses are offered?
- What is the student demographic makeup?
- What are the program costs?
- What are the admission requirements?
- Where have program graduates found employment?
Applying for grad school
Once you've narrowed down your program options, it's time to begin the application process. Grad school applications may require:
- a standardized test, such as the GRE, GMAT, LSAT or MCAT, relevant to your subject area
- college transcripts
- an application form
- an application fee
- a statement of purpose
- letters of recommendation (three is standard)
- an interview
Deadlines for grad school applications are generally January or earlier, so plan ahead—especially for requesting letters of recommendation. Focus on creating a compelling statement of purpose that will help you stand out from other candidates.
Need help choosing the right program, writing a statement of purpose or figuring out your next steps? Schedule a time to talk with one of our expert career counselors by calling 303-871-2150.
Additional Graduate School Resources
- Best Graduate Schools—from U.S. News & World Report
- Brain Track—comprehensive directory of United States colleges and universities
- Campus Tours—virtual college tours.
- Gradschools.com—graduate school information
- Masters Degrees in Communication—Find accredited schools offering Masters degrees in Communication.
- Masters Degrees Online — directory features over 90,000 program listings and allows you to determine which program features are most important to you so you can identify the program that best matches your personal interests and career goals
- Peterson's Grad School Resources
- School Guide—online source for researching programs