When is the best time to apply to graduate school?
Now: Here’s Why…
Here are a few factors that indicate that NOW is the time for you to apply.
1. You have a specific goal that requires a graduate degree, be it an MBA, MD, JD, or any other combo of letters.
2. You feel you are stagnating in your current position.
3. You are excited about the prospect of 2 (or 4 or 10) more years of study towards your professional goal.
4. You have the level of experience desired by the graduate programs you are targeting.
5. You have the qualifications.
6. You have the means (or know-how to acquire the means) to pay for your education.
Goals: Don’t Go Any Further Without Them
#1 above is an absolute requirement for graduate admissions. It doesn’t matter whether we are talking about MBA admissions, med school admissions, grad school, or law school admissions, you need to have a clear vision of what you want to do at the other end of the graduate study tunnel. For MBAs that goal has to be fairly specific. For future doctors, lawyers and other professionals, the goal can be a little more general, but still must require the education you are seeking.
Reasons 2-6 are not sufficient reasons on their own to pursue a graduate education, but in combination with #1 they are good indicators that now is a propitious time to apply.
These Reasons Just Won’t Cut It
What are the wrong reasons to pursue a graduate degree?
1. You hate your job.
2. You don’t want to get a job.
3. Your parents offered to pay for it.
4. Everyone else is doing it.
5. You always assumed you were going to go for a graduate degree and have no other plan.
6. You worry that if you don’t go now, you’ll never go.
Relate to one or more of these? You will be applying for the wrong reasons and should postpone your application.