Career 

Getting Ready for Graduate School

Is graduate school your next step? Start planning now if you think you might want to pursue your next degree. Here’s what you need to consider:
Will It Be Worth It?
Analyze the return on the investment of a graduate degree. For most young people with a lifetime of work ahead, a graduate degree in any field is likely to mean better pay. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual income of Americans with a college undergraduate degree is just over $57,000, while a graduate degree bumps that to almost $69,000. A medical or law degree produces a median income exceeding $85,000. And for some careers—like medicine, dentistry, law and physical therapy—a graduate degree is clearly an entry point for the profession.
Research the need for an advanced degree and the likely payoff at MoneyUnder30.com, for more information and a link to an ROI grad school calculator that can show you the payoff of a graduate degree.
Work First?
Unless you know exactly what you plan to do, it’s a good idea to take your time and work first before plunging right back into studies.
A job can give you the perspective you need to make a good choice and, in some cases, much-needed funds. Many employers offer tuition reimbursement plans that can significantly reduce your cost of a degree. But even a non-traditional, gap-year type of experience, such as an international volunteer program or AmeriCorps program, can add important heft to your application.
Start Preparing Your Application.
Even if you don’t anticipate starting graduate school right away, it’s smart to take steps toward that goal. You’ll want to make sure you have time to take the GMAT or GRE, for example, a couple of times before submitting scores. You’ll also need two or three recommendations, so ask your favorite professor for a letter before you leave campus.

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