Helpful Tips If Your Student Is Thinking Of Going To Grad School

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By Victoria Robertson, Uloop

Is your student intent on attending grad school? For many parents, this concept is overwhelming, especially when considering the financial responsibility of another few years of college.

There are plenty of pros and cons of attending grad school, and it’s important that your student be fully aware of all of these prior to moving forward with their plans. Plus, it’s helpful for you to understand the dedication it takes to attend grad school.

For that reason, here are six tips to keep in mind if your student is thinking of going to grad school.

1. Look at financials

Financially speaking, when it comes to grad school, costs are not low. In fact, grad school is an additional financial responsibility that can leave your student in an even more substantial amount of debt.

So, financially speaking, you should talk about whether or not grad school is feasible and, if it is, whether or not it’s worth the investment. You can always speak with a financial advisor on this point, or you can conduct research on your own, but the high cost is worth it if there’s a significant payoff, so it’s time to determine whether or not that’s the case for your student.

2. Look at their career path

In terms of career paths, it’s important that you take a look at your students’ goals prior to committing to grad school. For instance, are they planning on becoming a teacher? If so, you may want to advise them to hold off, as many schools will actually support teachers that pursue higher education while under their employ. In addition, some teachers with graduate degrees price themselves out of consideration for most schools, so they may have a harder time obtaining a job.

These are two different sides of the coin that your student needs to consider, as they can have a large impact on your students’ career plans. Think ahead!

3. Talk about location

When it comes to grad school, housing is another added cost that could break the bank. So, you have to look at locations. Is there a local school that would work well for your student? If not, is the location near or far? Is this feasible for them?

Plus, is the location of their graduate school an area in which they can gain experience? Are there job locations near campus where the student can work in their free time?

Location plays a big part in grad school decisions, so be sure to look at all of your options here as well.

4. Gauge their level of interest

Perhaps most importantly, you need to truly gauge your students’ level of interest in grad school, as this isn’t a light commitment. It’s a huge dedication.

Does your student actually want to attend graduate school? What’s their reasoning? What are the odds they will see their education through? Are there any hesitations?

This point requires a lengthy and detailed conversation between yourself and your student, but ultimately, it will come down to their feelings. All you can do is help to point them in the right direction.

5. Think about admissions processes

Again, applying for graduate school isn’t easy, and the admissions process can be rather extensive. For most graduate programs, some sort of admissions testing is required, which means your student needs to prepare for such tests. This can cost a significant amount of extra money and time, and you will want to see when testing is in your area.

In addition, many admissions offices ask for letters of recommendation and other requirements, all of which your student will need to be thinking about long before they actually apply to the program of their choice. 

6. Speak with a counselor

Last, but not least, you can’t be the information guru for your student. The truth is, most parents don’t know enough about grad school and, if they do, they may not know enough about the specific program their student is looking into.

For this reason, make sure your student speaks with a counselor about their options as well as their opinions on the graduate school programs available to your student. This will help provide them with more background and a better understanding of what to expect than you would be able to provide on your own.

Again, attending grad school isn’t a walk in the park. It takes a lot of prior thought and commitment, and that’s before your student even walks in the door. So keep these six tips in mind when it comes to moving forward with grad school, and be sure to have that conversation with your student to determine whether or not this is the right course for their future goals.

Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions! Grad school is no joke, and with the right mindset going in, your student will be more prepared for success than you could have imagined. 

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