Is Graduate School for You?

When you were little, I bet you had dreams of becoming something like an astronaut, doctor, pilot, firefighter, or princess. But I bet that was before you realized just how many jobs were out there. Not to mention, this was before you knew what you would be good at. When we were little, we were too young to know what our true callings would be. Some of us still want be doctors or firefighters, but some of us have found out we want to be lawyers, engineers, computer programmers, or sports reporters. If you’re like me, you’re still opening your eyes to a whole world of possibilities in terms of career options.

Depending on the career you are thinking about, maybe graduate school is the next step for you. The first question you must ask yourself is: is graduate school is right for me? For some, graduate school is required, but for others it isn’t necessary. For many health professions, some graduate school is required. Luckily, for those of you considering a career in health professions, there is an event this week to help you learn about your career choices, educational opportunities and campus resources.

On Wednesday, March 1st, from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM, IU’s School of Public Health will be hosting the 2017 Health Programs Fair. The event will be located at the IMU in Alumni Hall. With over 100 schools and between 600-700 of students in attendance each year, this event is one of the biggest annual events the SPH has to offer. Unsure if you “qualify” for this event? Please know this event is for anyone and everyone considering a career in the health professions or planning to apply to medical schools in the future.

For freshman and sophomores, attending this event will allow you to learn more about the different opportunities that come along with health professions. For juniors and seniors, myself included, this event can prepare you to apply to graduate-level programs and you will have the chance to meet with admission offices and representatives. For current graduate school applicants, this event provides more insight and advice on how to stay in touch with admission offices to learn more information about financial aid and curricular programs. Take advantage of this fair; I promise you’ll be glad you did! For more details, visit the SPH event’s page here!

Like I said, knowing if graduate school is right for you before making any big decisions is the most important thing. If you aren’t sure and are feeling confused, don’t be embarrassed. Here are some answers and advice to help you know if graduate school is right for you:

  • Examine your motivations and goals: Are you ready for more school and more responsibilities?Are you financially ready to take on another few years to obtain your graduate degree? Before you apply, you need to consider if you are willing to take on another few semesters of learning and everything that comes with it.
  • Reasons to go to graduate school: knowing why and what you want to go to graduate school for; deciding that what comes with graduate school is well
    worth the time, energy, and money; meeting and working with professionals in your desired field.
  • Reasons to not go to graduate school: feeling overly pressured by friends and family; feeling too tired and mentally drained from completing your undergrad degree; only going to school to avoid the real world.
  • How many graduate programs/schools do I apply for? Many factors go into this decision–and it is entirely up to you. A few things to consider, though: Graduate school applications can be costly, so you may want to set a limit based on budget concerns. Some graduate programs, like medical schools, can be very competitive; it is important be aware of the acceptance rates at the schools you apply to. Look for schools where faculty are doing research you are interested in and for schools that offer funding to graduate students.

The decision to attend graduate school is ultimately up to you and only you. It is not up to your family and friends–try not to be pressured by what you think they expect of you or how much school they completed. The decision should also not be based on being afraid to enter the real world because whether you go or don’t go, reality comes eventually. Before you make any decisions, think, do your homework, and utilize your resources like the career coaches and on campus fairs as much as you can. Regardless of your decision, good luck to all!


Georgina, aka Gina, is currently a junior at IU, majoring in family studies and sociology. Raised in Phoenix, AZ and South Bend, IN, she couldn’t be happier to be at IUB! Her passions include dance, working out, cooking, and spending time with friends, bf,  family, and her cat Shadow. She plans to become a Marriage & Family therapist while working with issues like racism and inequality. Fun fact: she can’t start her day without a nice cup of coffee…or three, but who’s counting?

By Georgina Nicholos
Georgina Nicholos Is Graduate School for You?