• Wed, Aug 21 - 12:25 pm ET

7 Ways You’ll Know That You’re Actually Ready To Go Back To School

Business school student in the library

Start up that brain again.

If your college experience was anything like mine, you remember studying all week while also interning, working a part-time job, editing the weekly newspaper and getting wasted—getting wasted on Sunday night (on $9 vodka) but having to go to Film Theory 8 a.m. Monday morning. So, the thought of graduate school might be swimming around in your head. How do you know you’re ready? This time around, you probably won’t be dorming or going to early morning courses.

7. You have a stable job. You’ve mastered your schedule, whether it is a 9-5 workaday or an at-home freelance schedule with steady clients. Your income is predictable (enough) and you won’t have to worry about starting graduate school only to not finish because you need to pay rent. Most graduate classes are taught late at night or directly after work, so even if you worked all day, you could probably still attend class. You just don’t want to be stressed while doing it.

6. You have no job at all. If you’re in a position to attend school while not working (many graduates’ parents actually subsidize their child’s life while in graduate school) then, by all means, go for it! If you’ve saved money or gained an inheritance, school is great way to spend your money. You’ll be learning something new, getting your CV ready for a new level of application and making new friends. Remember to choose your program wisely.

5. You’re ready to be a professional. If college was a blur and your applied psychology degree hasn’t paid off, since you’ve been working in accounting for the past 4 years (which that is totally cool and common), you might want to apply to graduate programs that allow you to explore what you’ve been doing for work (and hopefully get paid more for it).

4. You need a change of pace. If you’ve been sort of drifting after college, going in and out jobs and not finding what makes you happy, graduate school gives you the ability to do loads of things: study new subjects, make new friends, be creative and set new goals.

3. You straight-up want to be qualified for something practical. Going to graduate school means you’re going to learn something that allows you to do something valuable. If gone are the days of your Poetry studies, and you want to do business administration, go for it. Don’t fear the change: you will you still be able to retain your personality and hobbies, but you’ll have the knowledge to get a real-people job.

2. Your job will pay for your degree. Do it. If you’re offered the opportunity to learn something and thereby increase your chances of higher-pay and a better position, take it.

1. You’re sick of being told that your bachelors doesn’t separate you from the rest. Degree inflation is a problem–when everyone is vying for the same position and everyone has the same education, it might be worth it to go back to school. Many graduate programs are pretty pricey, so choose wisely; you want to get a leg up but not at the expense of paying off debt until you’re 75 years old.

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