Why Do You Want To Pursue A PhD?
This is the main question. Why do you want a PhD? Do you want it to impress other people or do you want it because you absolutely love learning about this subject area? You want to pursue a PhD if you have a burning desire to learn more and to achieve this goal but not if you are doing it so that other people will know you have a PhD.
Will It Help You Achieve Your Career Goals?
This is another excellent question. Will the PhD help you to achieve what you want to achieve? Is it absolutely necessary or is it even going to help? You could get a PhD for the pure pleasure of learning and never use it to pursue any career goals but most people who pursue PhDs are doing it to get where they want to go in their career field. Do you need a PhD to get your dream job?
Are You Willing To Put In That Much Time?
PhDs take a lot of time. Not everyone wants to be in school year after year after year and so on. If you are fine with being in school for many years before you have any chance of using your degree then that is fine. Just make sure that you are willing to put in all the time that it will take before you see any payoff.
Do You Love Researching The Focus Of Your PhD?
PhDs are all about research. How much do you love researching the subject that is the focus of your PhD? Could you research this topic for days, weeks, and years? That is what you will be doing in pursuit of your PhD. You want to decide if your love of this level of in-depth research is really strong enough to carry you through all the years of being a PhD student.
Are You Committed?
Being a PhD student is difficult. Your life is consumed by your studies and these studies will be more challenging than any you have undertaken before. Are you committed enough to stick with this endeavor even when it becomes challenging and stressful and it seems like there’s no end in sight?
Are You Willing To Sacrifice?
Finally, you need to ask yourself if you are willing to sacrifice. Your pursuit of a PhD will take over your life. It will take up your time, your energy, and possibly even test your sanity. You won’t have time for yourself or for the people in your life and you need to remember that getting your PhD means years of this type of existence. Are you willing to sacrifice all that? Will having a PhD make this level of sacrifice worth it in the end?
Tom Rheinecker writes on ways to apply for admission to schools offering online PhD programs.