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With tuition costs on the rise, it’s only natural to want to assess what kind of a return you’ll get on your investment in grad school. So, how do you determine if it’s worth the money?
There is no one answer to that question. Your path to grad school—and the value you gain from it—can vary greatly. You may be set on going to a renowned and pricey school, or you may choose a more economical option. You may be eligible for a scholarship that will defray a lot of your costs, or maybe your employer will sponsor part of your schooling.
Before you make the big decision, let’s take a look at what questions you should be asking yourself.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Going to Grad School
Why do I want to go to grad school? Prioritizing your reasons for attending grad school is an important first step. After all, it’s hard to assess the value of a degree if you don’t first determine what you want to get out of that degree.
What do I want to do with my degree? Studies show that earning a master’s degree increases your earning potential, but that potential varies depending on your field. Take a look at some of the highest paying graduate degrees. Check out payscale.com and the Bureau of Labor Statistics to get a sense of how in demand your skills are and what your earning potential is.
What is the net price to attend my grad school of choice? It’s easy to get sticker shock when looking at tuition costs, but before you panic, remember that you aren’t likely to have to pay full price for many schools. Talk with the financial aid office at the university to see what they offer for scholarships, grants, and other aid.
How soon do students graduate from my top school? If the average student takes an extra semester to graduate, they could be paying a hefty cost to do so. Take that into consideration when you make your calculations.