Education is a personal journey that can be taken at any stage throughout your life. A masters degree is one of the optional roads you can take in achieving your goals and dreams. You’ve gotten your bachelors degree, perhaps as a recent graduate, or maybe you’ve been pursuing and living the career track and have decided to explore other avenues. Whatever the reasons or circumstances are that brought you to this crossroads, making the decision to move onto graduate school is an individual one. Since going to graduate school is a big commitment, some things you’ll want to consider are your goals, finances and the large dedication of time involved.
As you are contemplating whether or not to continue your education, revaluate your goals to try and determine why it is you are thinking about a masters degree. Are you looking to continue the education track to obtain a competitive edge in your chosen field? Or have you hit a roadblock in your current career and are having a rough time climbing the corporate ladder? Perhaps you want to return to school simply because you love learning. Whichever category you fall into, be sure you are willing and able to make both the time and financial commitments necessary for graduate school.
Funding a masters degree will probably factor into your decision. Pursuing graduate school is expensive and a large debt may be accumulated. My personal belief is that if there is a desire to continue, then there is somehow a way, although the reality is often there are other monetary obligations that need to be met. When I decided to go back to college after a decade, it was to continue a long abandoned dream that I wasn’t able to finish when other life situations got in my way; when the opportunity arose, I finished my undergraduate degree. During this process, I realized the masters was a degree I badly wanted to try and earn. My husband was supportive of this decision and together we reworked our finances to try and allocate for the big debt I’m incurring as I strive towards this aspiration.
Time is another factor to carefully examine. If, for instance, you have a full time job, are raising children or both, it may be hard to jump into a full time program. There are part time and fast track paths that can be considered if this is your situation. Entering the half-time program is a way to chase your dream and not get overwhelmed with deadlines while trying to meet your other obligations. The fast track is extremely demanding, but you’ll finish much quicker.
Venturing on the journey of a masters degree is a wonderful path if it is what you decide it is right for you. It is not for everyone, it took me years to come to this decision because I wasn’t sure I could or even wanted to do it. If it’s not a career requirement, it gives you a bit of wiggle room to take some time to carefully assess the pros and cons to determine if it’s what you truly want.
You’ll probably find yourself doing some serious soul searching to decide if a masters degree is right for you. No matter what your decision is, it’s a very personal one to make and one that shouldn’t be made lightly.