While not mandatory, earning an advanced degree serves as a great boost to any resume, along with the life lessons and additional skills students acquire.
When trying to decide between continuing one’s education via graduate school or taking the earned undergraduate degree and hitting the job market, the following dos and don’ts should be taken into consideration and could help simplify the final decision altogether.
DO: Attend Grad School if You Know 100% It Will Increase Your Chances of Getting That Dream Job
Many upper level job positions require some form of an advanced degree. But it is important that students do their research during the undergrad years to find out what path will lead them straight to their dream occupation. The last thing anyone wants to do is spend the time and money on graduate school, only to find out it wasn’t necessary in the first place and vice-versa.
If there are other alternatives to reaching a certain occupation that don’t require an advanced degree, look into whether or not that would be a better route to go down instead of automatically turning to grad school as the solution.
DON’T: Attend Grad School If You’re Already Swimming in Student Debt
Finishing graduate school with a Master’s or other advanced degree is a huge accomplishment but it also means stacking on even more student debt as a result. A lot of students believe that going to graduate school will help them land a high paying job, making it easy to pay off student loans. But the reality is that it can take years to pay down such amounts, even with a high salary.
Students need to determine whether seeking additional education is worth increasing their amount of student debt and stretching the repayment process even longer or if they’d be better off jumping into the job market now to tackle their existing debt, which will undoubtedly be much less without the costs of graduate school added on.
DO: Attend Grad School If You Really Love Your Field & Want to Be an Expert In It
Some students go to graduate school purely for the love of learning and the experiences they know this type of education will have on their lives. And there’s nothing wrong with that. If there is no rush to dive into the job search and if funds aren’t an issue, it’s perfectly fine for students to continue their learning by pursuing an advanced degree.
Graduate school tends to be the perfect fit for students that want to teach, establish themselves as an expert in their field and/or get into research.
DON’T: Attend Grad School If There Is a Career Opportunity Ready & Waiting For You
This seems like common sense but some people may feel like they could get even better opportunities by going to graduate school. However, if there is a job position available right now that will get a person into their field sooner than later, it’s best to take advantage of such an opportunity, which may no longer be around after finishing graduate school.