Parents and Families

Picture of student at suture clinic event

If your student is considering graduate or professional school, they are not alone. It's a common consideration for undergraduate students. 

You may be surprised to learn that increasingly U-M graduates take time off between finishing their undergraduate studies and enrolling in a graduate program. Time away from studies can be an opportunity for personal enrichment, rejuvenation, professional development, coursework or other activities to improve their application to graduate school, and overall maturing. Not going to graduate school immediately after graduation may actually be a positive next step, and many students make a solid plan for how they want to spend this time productively.

Although additional education always leads to personal enrichment, there are many factors that may play into deciding whether it's a worthwhile investment. For instance, graduate school may not always translate into a guaranteed return on a student's investment of time and resources, depending on the field and type of degree being pursued. Some benefits may be realized only later in their career. 

Before applying, students should carefully assess:

  • Why are they interested in a graduate degree?
  • How would it help them reach their career goals?
  • What's the current marketability and career applicability of their intended degree?

If your student is closely considering graduate or professional school at this time, you can encourage them to:

  • Start conversations with faculty members and advisors in their department of interest to begin their exploration
  • Tap the U-M University Career Alumni Network to hear the perspectives and experiences of alumni in those fields
  • Schedule an appointment with a career coach in the U-M University Career Center and/or in their school or college to learn about deciding on next steps after college and preparing to be a strong applicant for graduate school
  • Connect with Newnan Academic Advising (for students in the College of Literature, Science and Arts) for help with applications including their personal statement, workshops on choosing medical or law schools, etc
  • Plan conversations with financial aid officers, admission representatives, etc. to help understand expectations for the degree, financing options, and more

An informed choice about whether to attend graduate school is always the best option.


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