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Should I Take Time Off Before Graduate School?

Getting into grad school isn't easy, and paying for is more of a challenge. Taking a year off first might be smart. Here's some expert advice to consider.

Donald K. ShermanDonald K. Sherman
Attorney, Author
Getting into graduate school is not easy, but paying for it can be even more of a challenge. Because graduate school is so expensive, you should have some idea of what you hope to gain from the investment of time and money you’re making. Taking time off before graduate school can provide the opportunity to help crystallize your career goals if you are unsure.

Graduate school is not only expensive but also highly competitive, and most students take some time off before they enroll. Your work and experiences immediately after college can make you a more attractive candidate to graduate programs. My year “off” was spent assisting workers displaced by 9/11 at a New York nonprofit and interning with the Bronx District Attorney’s office, which helped me feel more comfortable in a courtroom when I began practicing in the Georgetown Juvenile Justice Clinic and later as a guardian ad litem.

Perhaps most importantly, there are very few times in life when you will only be responsible for yourself. For many college grads, that first year out of school is a time for self-discovery and fun. Those experiences cannot only help you get ready to enter the world of work, but they can make you a more interesting candidate for employment after graduate school.

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