Can I apply to graduate school later in my career?

Most graduate programs are equally likely to accept students either right after they earn their bachelor’s degree or after they have spent time in the workforce. In professional MS programs, it is not uncommon to see a high number of students returning from the workforce. Research-oriented graduate programs do not typically expect applicants to have work experience, and many students in those programs will be entering directly after receiving their undergraduate degree and having research experience. Research institutions that are based in urban areas will typically have larger numbers of returning students than institutions not in urban areas.  For a returning student, maturity and work experience are often a benefit. Students who return to graduate school after working may have a clearer idea of what they hope to gain from their studies. In addition, returning students will have acquired useful technical, leadership, collaboration and communication skills, as well as valuable persistence and time management skills, that are important to success in graduate school. A student enrolling right after college will still be used to the academic structure, including the demands of courses and exams, while a student enrolling a few years later will typically have to re-adjust to this structure.