After graduating college, you’re faced with some big decisions about your life and your career. For some, grad school is a natural thing to consider. In some instances, grad school is a no brainer. Want to be a doctor, nurse, or lawyer? Grad school is a must. But what about if you’ve majored in communication, journalism, or business? Should you go to grad school right after you’ve graduated? Should you wait? Should you go at all?
Here are a few things to consider before your make that decision.
Can you afford to take on the debt?
You’ve likely just taken on a massive amount of debt to obtain your bachelor’s degree. You’ll likely have to start repayment on these loans within six months of graduation — which, honestly, isn’t much time. So it can be tempting to want to jump right back into school, if for no other reason than to put off having to deal with loan repayment. But it doesn’t really “solve” anything — it just adds to your debt. Before you jump into grad school, make sure you can take on some more debt.
Do you like your field?
This seems like a stupid question because you just spent four years studying your field — so you probably already know you like it. But there’s a difference between studying something and practicing something. It’s important to make sure you like your field before you go further with your degree on a subject matter you may only be “meh” about.
Do you need a higher degree in order to get a job?
In some cases, yes, you do. You can’t become a brain surgeon with only four years of secondary schooling under your belt. In other fields, a master’s degree is recommended or inevitable, like education. But I think it’s crucial to go out and see how you fare in the position prior to committing to another rigorous program. Imagine graduating with a master’s degree in teaching only to realize you hate actually spending time in the classroom?
Additionally, for most fields and professions, a bachelor’s degree is more than sufficient.You’ve probably heard someone say that because bachelor’s degrees have become so common, you need to have a master’s degree to even be considered for a job these days. As someone who has ONLY a bachelor’s degree and has had a fairly successful career thus far, that’s simply not true.
Is a graduate degree necessary to further a career in your field?
Or does it feel like an option because you’re hoping to skip starting at the bottom? Lots of people want to go to grad school because they see it as a way to forgo entry-level jobs and jump right into high-paying positions. But this isn’t necessarily true. While some employers and jobs put great value in the level of college a person has completed, many care far more about the experience you have in the work place. There’s absolutely no substitute for hours worked in your field, either in the form of internships or in an actual position. In most cases, you can’t simply leapfrog over entry-level positions straight to a high-paid, managerial role. You’ll need to start at the bottom and work your way up.
Overall, grad school can be an excellent decision for lots of people. But there’s plenty to think about before committing! Ultimately, you know you better than anyone else knows you, so you’ll be the one to know if grad school is right for you. Best of luck!