Considering Going to Graduate or Professional School? 8 Things to consider!


Whether you will be finishing your studies soon or looking for a change in career, the thought of going to go to graduate or professional school might have crossed your mind. Advancing your education has numerous advantages which range from personal development to achieving your career goals. However, it is paramount to put several things into consideration before proceeding to apply for admission as the process can be immense and decisions need to be taken seriously. Also, attending graduate or professional school consumes a lot of resources such as time, money, energy etc. In order to make the process of deciding whether going to graduate or professional school serene, we are suggesting you consider these 8 major things before proceeding:

  1. Reason/Motivation: The reason to go to graduate or professional school varies with individuals and each person must evaluate the main reason/motivation why they want to advance their education/knowledge. These reasons can be to advance your career, enhance your education, career change, work on advanced projects, stand out, free tuition, etc. Having a strong reason for going to a graduate or professional school will convince you that you’re making the right choice for yourself and will make you stay focus all through your program.
  2. What program:  When deciding how to further your education it is paramount to know which program to apply for and the difference between a graduate school and a professional school. The graduate school involves learning and researching in a specific field (e.g. Engineering) while in professional schools, students are trained in a specific profession (e.g. medicine). A graduate degree can be a master's program which is generally between one to three years or a doctoral program which is between three to seven years depending on program and school.  Therefore, find time to research what program best suits you and align it with your reason or motivation for going to graduate or professional school.
  3. What school: The choice of schools varies from individuals and can be because of the school reputation, program reputation, cost, research interest, location, etc. It is mostly recommended that students value the practical and learning experience they will get rather than the name of the school. Students can also consider the option of going abroad for their graduate/professional school. Going abroad will be a great way for students to experience different cultures and see other possible opportunities they can employ.
  4. Cost-benefit: Evaluating the cost-benefit of attending a graduate or professional school is one of the critical components to a successful transition through the process of advancing your education. You should consider how much graduate/professional school costs and investigate what graduates from your desired program do after finishing their program. Evaluating the cost-benefit of attending graduate/professional schools can also help to determine whether a part-time or full-time study is well suited for you or whether the process is worth it in the long run.
  5. Financial resources: Pursuing a graduate or professional program does not come at a cheap price. However, there exist numerous but limited financial resources in forms of grants, scholarships and loans students can rely on. In order to benefit from the scholarships graduate and professional schools have to offer, students are encouraged to contact their prospective program and discuss the possible financial resources they are qualified for. As the available scholarships are limited, students are encouraged to apply early as there are specific timelines to adhere to in order to be considered for scholarships and grants. Scholarships are mostly based on academic merit, research potential, leadership skills and community involvement.  Graduate students also have the opportunity to benefit from assistantships such as research and teaching assistantship. More information about student awards and financial aids available at the University of Windsor can be found at
  6. Requirements: Each school and program have its own unique requirement for admission. Therefore, it is paramount for prospective students to research extensively the requirements they need to gain admission into their desired program. These requirements vary from academic performance, work experience to high performance in standardized tests. Contact your prospective program coordinator in advance to inquire and verify the requirements for the specific program and school. Also, take into consideration the admission timeline for the program you’re applying to. Some programs open admission applications early and prospective students can apply before they finish their current program.
  7. Documentations: Depending on the program you’re applying; some additional documentation might be required in addition to meeting the requirement for the program. Some of these documents might include an application form, proof of residency, curriculum vitae, personal statement/statement of purpose, research proposal, letter of recommendation. Therefore, it is essential that you know the documentation required for the program you’re applying for and to work towards getting this documentation in advance before applying. Expert career advisors at CDEL can aid in providing guidance and feedback on your personal statements, statements of purpose, letter of intent, etc.
  8. Plans after graduation: When deciding about going to graduate or professional school, it is essential to also consider what will be your plans after finishing the program. Do you want to work in the industry or stay in academics? How will advanced education aid my career and personal goals? Considering plans after graduation will enable you to stay focus and work harder towards achieving your goals.

Want to discuss your plans and application for graduate or professional school, visit mySuccess to book an appointment with a professional career advisor. You can also visit the School of graduate studies to explore the types of programs and resources available for advancing your studies here at the University of Windsor.

Feel free to drop in anytime at the CDEL office in JEC 100 between 10 am to 4 pm on weekdays to discuss with a career peer advisor about your career-related concerns and resources available.