Moving to a new city, state, region, or country for graduate school can be a big decision. Therefore, it’s important to consider the implications doing so can have on your social, personal, and academic life as well as your future career.
Ask yourself these 5 questions prior to making the big move:
1.Why are you moving to that particular location?
Many people apply for graduate school with a simple goal to pursue their academic and professional interests. Others do so to “get away”, “try something new”, or “have an adventure”.
Prior to relocating for graduate school, consider your reasons. Make a list of your reasons, and ask yourself, “Are these good reasons for relocating? Will my reasons allow for greater personal, academic, and professional success and satisfaction?” If not, or if you find yourself moving for a reason that doesn’t make sense, reconsider, or consider more carefully, your decision to relocate.
2.Can you afford to live in that location and complete school “on time”?
Graduate school is an investment in and of itself. Relocating for graduate school may result in additional expenses associated with the costs of moving or having to pay out of state tuition.
Will the money that you invest in graduate school be returned through work after graduate school? Can you afford to live in the school’s area and pay tuition? Are there jobs for grad students in your new location? In short, take some time to consider the expense of relocating for graduate school and your potential return on investment.
3.Are you willing to live in that particular city or region after graduation?
Many people relocate for graduate school with plans to move away after graduation only to find themselves “sticking around” for years after.
Graduate students often find rewarding jobs, enjoy once-in-a-lifetime experiences, or meet a significant other while attending graduate school. Each of these things can influence students to stick around after graduation.
Ask yourself, “Can I see myself living here in the long term if that’s the direction my life takes?”
4.Does the area satisfy your academic and personal needs?
Check to make sure academic facilities such as libraries or labs are adequate to meet your educational needs. You might also consider the availability of non-academic amenities; such as grocery stores, medical offices, and social and recreational opportunities.
5.What are your five to ten-year goals and will this move help fulfill them?
It is incredibly easy to be swept away by the excitement of moving to a new area for graduate school. To balance the excitement and double-check your intentions, ask yourself, “What are my five to ten year goals and how will this move help me fulfill them?” Asking this question will help you determine whether or not the move is aligned with your goals, values, and intentions.
If making the move will help you reach a five-year career goal, great! If it will help you satisfy a life-long goal of being adventurous, great! If it will help you gain invaluable experience for the next stage of life, great! If it doesn’t seem to be connected to any of your specific goals, values, and intentions, reconsider your decision and evaluate how relocation connects to you and your life in a meaningful way.