Am I smart enough for grad school?

Are you ready to advance in your career, earn more money or improve your skillset? While not guaranteed, one way to increase your job prospects is by earning a master’s degree. However, before even researching programs, many people stop themselves by asking, “Am I smart enough for grad school?” 

Motivation versus academics

There can be many barriers to earning a master’s degree, from financial considerations to scheduling conflicts; however, simply assuming you are not smart enough for grad school should not be one of them. The metric that may better define how likely you are to succeed in graduate school is how motivated you are.
Learn more about balancing work, family and education >

Talk to program representatives

Many master’s programs do have minimum GPA requirements, but admissions counselors sometimes have latitude in this area. If you have been in the workforce for several years and are going back to school as an adult, your resume may be as important as your transcript, if not more so.

Admissions counselors understand that a lot can change (attitude, perspective, values) in the years since you’ve earned your bachelor’s degree. If you did poorly in some classes, they may calculate your GPA using only the classes related to the graduate program in which you are interested, or suggest alternative ways to apply.

Academic resources for graduate students

What if once in graduate school you start to struggle? What do you do now? Take advantage of the academic support available to you through the university. Many schools offer tutoring sessions or writing assistance for graduate students. While researching programs, ask what type of academic support is available.

Support from friends and family

There is a reason why sports teams have cheerleaders. Having the support of family and friends can do wonders for your confidence. And a confident, motivated person is much more likely to succeed. Before starting graduate school, find a support person—someone you can confide in, talk through your worries and who will hold you accountable when your educational goals seem insurmountable.

At Bluffton…

Bluffton University offers degree-completion majors for working adults in accounting, business management, social work and RN to BSN. Graduate degree opportunities include business administration (MBA), education (MAEd) and organizational management (MAOM).

About the author…

Shelby Koenig ’19, enrollment counselor for adult and graduate studies at Bluffton University, is pursuing her MBA at Bluffton. She plans to graduate in May 2022. Shelby is taking full advantage of Bluffton’s MBA tutoring sessions and writing center. She has also developed close ties with other MBA students through Bluffton’s cohort-based classes, which allows Shelby to continue taking classes with and eventually graduate with the same group of students she started with during her first MBA course.