5 Reasons to Consider Graduate School While Still an Undergrad

by Tobin Perry

When you’re an undergraduate student, graduate school can seem far away. You’re likely focused on what’s close at hand: completing homework assignments, studying for your next exam, participating in school clubs and teams, and generally finding that ideal balance of study, work, and play.

However, while you don’t have to have your future all planned out, taking a long-term view of your academic journey and career goals may enrich your undergraduate education. If grad school interests you or you know it’s essential for the job you want, here are five reasons to start considering it while you're still in undergrad.

1. Choose Classes to Better Prepare You

Certain undergraduate classes can help you be more successful in your graduate studies. If you want to attend law school, for example, you’ll benefit from a strong undergraduate experience in political science and history. You may be able to take the undergraduate classes you missed before starting your graduate program, but it’ll add expense and time. Plus, most schools expect your undergraduate degree to relate to your graduate program. In fact, you may even need to choose a specific major to pursue the graduate program of your choice. That means the decisions you make as an undergraduate could impact your future graduate school opportunities.

2. Craft a Smarter Financial Aid Package

Your education is an investment in your future, and financial aid options at Azusa Pacific University can help you pay for it. These options will only increase with a clearer vision of your future plans. For example, you may be able to find scholarships and grants related to the field or offered by departments. The sooner you set these in your sights, the better you can meet—and even exceed—the qualifications. Furthermore, many employers will help pay for further education.

3. Tap into Your Professors’ Experiences

Your undergraduate professors likely have the most experience and insight about graduate programs in your field. They’ve been in your shoes and experienced graduate school, too, and can offer valuable advice on your path forward. They may also be able to connect you with working professionals in your field who can provide further support. That’s why it’s always a good idea to forge positive relationships with your professors. They can also write recommendation letters for your graduate program application and may even know the people in admissions.

4. Study More for Entrance Exams

Whether it’s the GRE, LSAT, GMAT, MCAT, or other test, these exams are often a part of the process for getting into your graduate program of choice. Knowing ahead of time that you want to attend graduate school means you can get a head start on preparing for these exams. In fact, finding out which exams you’ll need to take is a great first step. The additional time gives you more opportunities to learn from people who’ve passed these tests. You can also review test materials at your leisure instead of cramming right before the exam.

5. Earn Graduate Credit Early

Sometimes your undergraduate programs will allow you to get started on graduate school while you finish up your bachelor’s degree. For example, if you meet certain criteria, you may be able to take graduate classes your senior year, earning advanced credits for a master’s program and giving you a valuable head start.

Start Preparing Today

Just as preparing an outline can increase your essay’s success, so too does crafting a big-picture blueprint of your long-term goals and how to get there. If graduate school is part of your future plans, it’s never too early to start preparing. The sooner you decide to go, the easier it may be to reach your education and career goals.

Want to learn more about graduate programs at APU? Check out the admissions webpage.