I recently made the decision to pursue a master's degree in my chosen career field. I can't say it was the easiest or the hardest decision I've ever had to make, but it did take some serious thought. Mix excitement with slight nausea and you'll understand my feelings during the decision-making process. For anyone else out there who might be considering taking master's classes, here are 5 things I had to verbalize and/or discuss to make an informed decision.
Where do I want to go?
University or no?Giphy
This can depend largely on the type of learner you are. I learn well in lecture and/or intensive reading courses; it's just how my mind works. My husband, however, is a tactile learner and demands classroom time and discipline. There are a plethora of brick and mortar universities that offer master's classes but, more and more so, campuses are beginning to offer online master's programs. Online works fantastically for someone like me who works full time, has a family and enjoys working alone. I'm in heaven when I get to sit down and do my work.
What is this really going to cost?
Graduate classes aren't cheap.Giphy
Typically, graduate courses (depending on the program) can cost between $500 and $1000 more per class per term than undergraduate work. It's a serious investment (which can turn a serious profit later in life) but it's not an expense to take lightly. Unlike undergraduate work, master's and doctorate programs do not accept grants. Scholarships are always an option but your options are limited to either them or student loans--yikes. And, to top it all off, graduate student loans are unsubsidized, meaning they begin accruing interest the MOMENT they are dispersed. It's important to sit down with your S.O. to discuss your finances beforehand. Your bank accounts will thank you.
Does it make sense in regards to your career field?
You may automatically assume that a master's is better than a bachelor's. That may or may not be true. Careers centered particularly in technological or HR fields don't necessitate a master's in order to climb the proverbial ladder. Other careers, like mine, can definitely benefit from the attainment of a higher degree. It's all relative, be sure to do your research.
Did you work out how long it will take?
This may seem irrelevant to some, but it can take a substantial amount of time to complete a master's. Depending on your chosen course-load and how often classes are offered, you may be in for a long hall. I could choose to complete my master's in less than 15 months but I fear the monster that would turn me into. I'm okay with taking a bit more time, say, 18 months, to finish my master's.
Are you ready?
Graduate classes are on a different level than undergraduate, for good reason. It's important to take a serious self-evaluation. Mentally, physically, spiritually, etc, are you ready? Are those around you ready to support you in your new endeavor? It's a huge investment in regards to finances, time, energy, sacrifice and you need to be confident in your ability to cope. If anything, this is the most important thing to consider. If you go in without the mental fortitude to persevere, you will find yourself a burning wreck. Don't do that. Take the necessary time to evaluate yourself.