The Decision

Choose a Final School

graduation cap icon for explore grad school

After a lifetime’s worth of academic preparation and a rigorous application process, you have received one or more letters of acceptance from graduate programs to which you have applied.

Your hard work has paid off.

You have been accepted.

Now what...? 

At this point, there are a few final decisions to make, and the stakes could be quite high in terms of financial costs and time commitments. It is important to assess your best options cautiously and critically before moving forward.

Know Your Motivations

A Moment of Reflection

This is the moment to revisit a key question one final time: do you want to go to graduate school? It is important to realize that whether you have been accepted into one program or many programs, you still have another option, and that is to decline admission and do something else. You can always walk away if you want to.

You may be surprised by the number of people who have yet to truly grapple with this important bit of professional self-reflection until after they receive an acceptance letter. If this strikes a chord with you, then it is time to consider why you intended to apply to graduate school in the first place.

Ask yourself:

  • Does this program fit into my life in an exciting way?
  • Is it leading to a career path that I look forward to?
  • Can I see myself being happy in this location?
  • Am I ready for another round of rigorous academic training, or do I need a break to do other things?


Be honest with your answers, because some of them may not fit into an “ideal” plan. Ideal plans are great on paper, but we live complex and nuanced lives. Be true to yourself and your needs as you contemplate these issues.

If you have not yet seen our starter tips for exploring graduate school options, take a moment to explore this further.


Learn More

Review our tips about Grad School 101 to clarify your motivations and assess the value of your graduate school goals.

 icon of lightning bolt  Take Action: Where to Go From Here

Suggested Steps for Success


 icon of an events calendar

icon of horizontal line


See Details >>

 icon of a career advisor

icon of horizontal line


See Details >>

 icon of arrow facing to the right

icon of horizontal line


See Details >>