As a junior in college, I find myself thinking about what i’m going to do once I graduate. Each semester is flying by, and before I know it, I’ll be graduating. With the extreme amount of stress and activities that come along with being a senior, as a junior, I feel that now is the best time to figure out if I want to attend grad school or not. Grad. school is definitely not for everyone, and I even find myself questioning whether it’s worth it or not. With everything in life, there are pros and cons for pursuing a graduate degree. Some of the pros are:
1. More opportunities: Having a graduate degree can open the door to many new opportunities. With the job market being more competitive, having a graduate degree can separate you from other applicants.
2. The chance to earn more money: According to many statistics, students who have a graduate degree earn more money than student’s who just hold an Associates or Bachelor’s degree.
3. The chance for promotions: Many jobs may require a Bachelor’s degree in order to be hired, but once you are with the business or agency, more education may be needed in order to be promoted. Having a graduate degree already, may save you the time of going back to school once you are with the company.
4. The chance to change careers: A lot of people I know get two years into their undergraduate programs and complain about their major. I often hear, “why the heck did I chose this major?” or “This is so boring, but I can’t change my major because i’m too far into my program”. Going to graduate school allows you to study something completely different. You can go from getting your undergraduate degree in Culinary Arts and getting your Master’s degree in Psychology. Having multiple degrees in completely different fields allows you to become more intellectually diverse and gives you the opportunity to change careers if you want.
5. The struggle is too real: With employers being extremely picky and a high number of people being educated, having a graduate degree can help you stand out. If you have the opportunity to pursue your education further, it may be a good idea to do so. We often hear about jobs being scarce and people struggling to find jobs, especially college graduates, so why not try and put yourself above as many people as possible?
6. Networking: Going to grad. school gives you an opportunity to network. Many people in your undergrad classes may be extremely young and haven’t started their careers yet, so they might not have been much help when it came to finding a well paying job. In grad. school, you’ll get to meet older people who probably have started their careers already and are just going back to get more education. It will give you a chance to get to know them in a more calming and informal setting and get your name out there.
Although going to graduate school may seem to be a positive experience, there are also negatives involved with it. Some of the cons are:
1. It’s Expensive: Attending grad. school is extremely expensive. You probably already have a decent sized debt from your undergrad program, and adding more loans and fees on top of that may be too much to handle.
2. It’s Stressful: From what i’ve heard from many graduate students. Grad. school is extremely stressful. Of course, there are many factors that may increase someone’s stress, but you already had to deal with 4 years of undergrad. school filled with sleepless nights, presentations, and research papers, a lot of people may not want to do it all over again.
3. No guarantee of a higher salary: Although statistics may show that people who have graduate degrees on average make more than those who only hold an undergraduate degree, a higher salary is still not guaranteed. Without the guarantee of a higher salary, many students may avoid the stress and cost of graduate school and see how far they can go with just their undergrad. degrees.
4. You might be overqualified for some positions: I think this is the most ridiculous excuse not to hire someone, but unfortunately, it may happen. Some employers may feel that you are overqualified for a certain position. With some businesses looking to save as much money as possible, hiring someone with a graduate degree may mean paying them more money and giving them more benefits. They may prefer someone who only has an undergrad degree, and will work for less money.
Graduate school may open many doors for you in whatever career you choose to pursue. It can push you intellectually and you would have more opportunities to network with professors and fellow classmates. It gives you a better chance to advance once you have settled into a career, and if you didn’t like what you studied during your undergrad. program, you can study something completely different. But then again, your higher salary is not guaranteed and you would be putting yourself into more debt and stress for another 2-7years.
Although there seems to be a big risk that’s involved with going to grad. school, I myself am leaning more towards choosing to pursue a graduate degree. As I said before, the struggle is too real. Even if a higher salary is not guaranteed, at least having a graduate degree puts me in a better position to receive a higher salary if one was being offered somewhere. Throughout my undergraduate career, many of the students around me have only held jobs at fast food spots or clothing stores, and although they would be helpful if I needed a position in one of their stores, i’m in college to hopefully start a career, and I feel that being in graduate school will allow me to meet a lot more people who are in a position I want to get to. It’s going to be stressful, but I’ve already done it for three years, i’m sure I can handle it and i’m sure anyone else can handle it too. Too many people cut themselves short and don’t understand their talents and abilities. Just making it to college is a huge accomplishment, if you want to continue your education after it, have a positive attitude and don’t let things like more homework and harder classes discourage you. In my opinion, the main thing against grad. school is how expensive it is. Although it is expensive, its an investment in your future.
If you choose not to go to graduate school, that’s fine too! Do what’s best for you. If you are satisfied with your undergraduate degree and your current job, then stay with it. You’ll save money and time. Everyone takes their own path in life, and if you choose to change your mind in the future, you can. You have the rest of your life to decide what works well for you.