Loyola University Chicago

Career Services

Making the Graduate School Decision

Considering Grad School

If you are avoiding making life-career decisions or considering grad school because you don't know any other options, or you are feeling external pressure, these are not good reasons to apply. If you are clear enough in your own career interests to go directly to grad school, you know the field and day-to-day life of the career, then you are in a good position to apply. 

Timing matters. Ask yourself:

Do I need a break from the lifestyle of a student?

Do I know exactly what I want to study?

Am I ready to enter a program of study that will take me two or more years to complete?

Have I researched my chosen career to determine the optimum timing for graduate school (i.e. Does an advanced degree in my field require a pre-requisite number of years of work experience?)


Important questions to ask yourself, include: Does my chosen field require an advanced degree? Do I know that it makes me more marketablein the future? Are there alternative routes to my career goals? Will a higher degree really affect my salary in my chosen field? Could I qualify for a position in my field without an advanced degree? A useful way to address these questions is through informational interviewing

Consider the commitments: 

  • Extensive, rigorous, independent academic work
  • Finances needed to pay for tuition, room and board, etc
  • Ability to live on a limited budget
  • Full-time or part-time programs should be analyzed based on your financial and lifestyle preferences. For instance, many part-time programs allow you to work a full-time job and attend classes in the evenings or weekends

The decision to attend graduate school is a commitment to the idea after extensive self-exploration and research. The following is a list of several questions you may want to ask yourself.