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When should I go to graduate school?

Timing is important for graduate school for two reasons.  Ball State's Career Center provides a suggested timeline for graduate school. 

First, you need to allow yourself plenty of time to look through programs and complete applications in a timely manner.  Application deadlines and funding deadlines can arrive more quickly than you expect at first. 

Second, timing addresses when you should think about attending graduate school.  Some students go directly from undergraduate to graduate school, others take a few years between degrees, and some return to graduate school years later to change a career or open more opportunities later in life.  If you have been out of school for several years, you can still be a strong candidate for admission to graduate school. 

Anyone with an undergraduate degree should feel welcome to consider graduate school at any time. 

Here are some questions you may want to consider.

Application Timing Questions:

  • Do I have time to write, revise, and edit a personal statement, resume, and other application materials?
  • Are applications accepted at all times for my program of interest?
  • Do I need to take additional exams and when are these exams offered?
  • How long does it take to request transcripts from my former school(s)?
  • Will I be able to get letters of recommendation in time?

Timing Questions for When to Attend:

  • Do I have the motivation to go straight from undergraduate to graduate school?
  • Am I tired of being in school?
  • Do I have the interest to attend every class and complete every assignment?
  • Are there any jobs that I really want to apply for instead of applying to school?