If you’re reading this blog, you might be in graduate school already, you might be thinking of applying to graduate school, or you might be in the process of doing so right now. If you’ve been out of school for a while, you might be wondering what am I doing? Is it too late to go to graduate school? Am I too old? The short answer? A resounding NO! You are not too old, and it is not too late.
That being said, we know that it can be scary and intimidating. You might be wondering if it’s worth the time, energy, and money. You might not want to take out loans and go into debt. You might wonder what you’ll actually get out of it, or whether you’re prepared or able to do the work. These are all normal questions, and the answers can be highly personal and variable.
The cost of graduate school can vary widely, depending on whether you choose a public university or private university and whether you attend classes online or in-person. It can also depend on whether you take classes part-time or a full-load. If you’re concerned about it, do your research. Look at the schools you’re considering and get in touch with their financial aid counselors. Talk with them honestly about your situation and what an aid package would look like. If you’re working, see if your employer has any tuition reimbursement programs. Look online for scholarship and fellowship opportunities – ask the financial aid offices of the schools you’re considering: they can often point you in the right direction with databases and organizations.
Juggling School and Life
You might be wondering how you’ll fit it into your already busy life. Well, the short answer is, if you want to, you will. Balancing responsibilities is part of adulthood, and becoming organized and setting boundaries will help you manage it. If you do go to grad school, you’ll need to plan ahead with scheduling, childcare, work, and family obligations. Treat it like another job because in many ways, it is. Talk with students in the program you’re considering to get an idea of the work and time commitment. Talk with graduate students you know to see how they handle it and what kind of obligations their school entails. Being informed about the time and work commitment will give you a better idea of whether you can (and want) to do it.
You may be wondering if you’re ready for the work of graduate school, especially if you’ve been out of school for a while. If you’re especially worried, talk with the admissions counselors, or better yet, talk with professors or students in the program you want to enter. Try to get ahold of a syllabus or reading list. If you know you have specific areas that are challenging to you, like writing or math, get some workbooks and start brushing up on your skills to prepare. Check out the school’s academic tutoring center or writing center and see what they offer, like study skills groups or individual tutoring. There are lots of resources available for graduate students, including Dissertation Editor!
Here at Dissertation Editor, we’ve worked with hundreds of non-traditional graduate students who have returned to school after being out of school for a while. It can be an adjustment and can take time to find your groove, but it is certainly doable. If you find yourself stumbling, we offer a range of services, including tutoring, consultations, data analysis, editing, and formatting, to assist you. Contact us today to learn more!