Criminal Justice Degrees Guide

Choosing a Graduate School to Fit your Needs

Many students go on to graduate school after finishing college. Some go immediately after graduation, while others may go later on in life. Either way, choosing a graduate school that makes sense for you can be an arduous process. Be prepared to do a lot of research about the options available to you. Most universities offer graduate level courses, but they do not all offer the same services. Sometimes just deciding to continue your studies is a difficult enough decision, but the hard part is finding the right school.

One of the major things you need to consider is the cost of graduate school. The rates are the same, if not higher, than undergraduate courses at a given school. Graduate programs vary in length, but if yours takes two years to complete you will have to budget for an extra two years of tuition payments. Financial aid is typically not awarded to graduate students, so you will have to exhaust your loan options. Some companies will help pay the cost of graduate school for their employees. They view this as investment in improving their own business. Talk about this possibility with your boss. This is especially prevalent in financial companies where they want their employees to earn their MBAs.

Another major thing to consider is how will this fit your lifestyle. Some people are happy to continue being a student right after finishing their undergraduate degrees. Still others are eager to join the workforce. If you are working right away after school, you will have to weigh whether you can take on a full graduate course load for a semester. You can consider taking just a class or two during a semester instead of going to school fulltime. Just keep in mind that graduate courses require a lot of work. Before you commit and enroll in a graduate course, be sure that you can devote enough time to your studies while juggling your job and your life!

Once you have committed to going back to school, you need to find an institution that offers the program that best suits your needs. Go to your possible schools and talk with an academic advisor who can walk you through the program. Determine what you want to do with this graduate degree. Choose a program that best fits your professional goals. Do some research on the schools themselves to see how much weight having a graduate degree from these schools carries in the "real world."

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