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The Graduate Resources Examination, quite a mouthful. Some of it hear of it when they are still in school. Some plan for it when they are in high school, some think about it when they spend life as an undergrad. Some even decide to take the GRE when they are working, because it is a ticket to a better life - a Masters or PhD Degree from a reputed university, a better job after graduation, higher status.
Studies and common sense would show that salaries and job profiles for Master's graduates are quite a bit higher than those for the people holding Bachelors degrees. But there is also the thing of how one would pay for their Masters education, because costs definitely aren't becoming any lower; in this time of recession and slow recovery, these things really have a lot of weight on decisions.
So why take the GRE? There are a few reasons that come to mind. If you are a prospective Masters student, these may be helpful to you.
1. Five years validity of the GRE score - If you are ever going to write the GRE and work towards your Masters, there is a very high chance you would choose to do it earlier than later. It is next to impossible to devote time to a Masters degree later in your career. Prepare for and write the GRE as soon as it would be possible. Keep an eye on the job market in your chosen area so that you can take the decision taking into account a fertile field on your completion of the Masters program.
2. Financial Aid - Most universities (especially in the United States) provide funding for Masters' students in the form of scholarships, Research Assistant-ship, Teaching Assistant-ship, Graduate Assistant-ship, On-campus employment opportunities, etc. Obviously this applies to the students who are not allowed to work off campus (all international students initially fall into this category) till 9 months of course work are completed. Some students take a personal or student loan in the hope they can pay it off after they get a job on completion of their Masters program, and this is a very viable option. It is your responsibility to gauge the market and see your chances of getting a job and earning enough to pay the loan back in time. Do this research before you jump in, it is absolutely imperative. But most students do end up paying it off and the rest get financial aid. So don't worry about this aspect.
3. Career - I'm going to be a little abstract here, please bear with me. Look at your career growth this way - Before your Masters, ff your career was following a certain line, at a speed of X (promotions, status, salary), your Masters degree will NOT JUST ADD to your career graph (m+X), but rather will help your career grow faster, like multiplication (maybe 1.m*X)! Isn't that just amazing? Uh..Hello? You still here? Thank God, I thought I lost you on that one. I did? No problem. Go through it again. This applies even more for the people who are getting into a University right after their undergrad, it makes that much more sense.
I personally was working as an Engineer after my undergrad studies, and felt my career really needed the boost. I also wanted to set an academic mark because I didn't really put much effort into my undergrad. Thus began my preparation to enter a university to study Environmental Engineering. I'm finally here, I made it. I just wanted to share a little bit which may help you in your journey. Catch me and my articles at http://www.crackyourgre.com !
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