Article | 3:21 min read

Is Graduate School the Right Option for You

Life Events

You recently graduated college and are wondering if graduate school is the correct next step in your career.

A college student standing in a building hallway

Although you've heard many stories about graduate school successes, do the pros outweigh the cons? Or vice versa? Here are a few considerations for you to keep in mind:

Reasons to go to grad school:

  1. Your employer has offered to pay for it

    If your employer offers you free graduate schooling or even a percentage of tuition, you should highly consider accepting the offer. One of the biggest reasons to avoid continuing your education is because of money (or the lack thereof), but if your company is alleviating this hassle, you have much less to worry about. Not to mention, many times companies will offer you a raise in your salary once you have graduated from your continued education. Consider this a win-win. If your company is willing to invest in you, often times this means they see the value in your position and see you as a vital piece to the company's future.

  2. Your undergraduate school offers a joint undergraduate and graduate program

    Some schools offer programs where you can get a one-year Master's Degree immediately after you graduate from your undergraduate program. This makes the process of obtaining a Master's Degree easier to afford and more convenient. If your college offers this, take it seriously. Completing a joint programs alleviates the all too often event of joining the workforce with the intent of returning to grad school and never actually making it back.

  3. You know exactly what you want to do

    If you are 100 percent positive the graduate degree you are pursuing, is exactly what you want to do, then grad school might be the right fit for you. Do your research and make sure that an advanced degree will in fact benefit you, and if so, go for it.

  4. The ends justify the means

    You are hoping to separate yourself from the fierce competition and have completely done your research. With an advanced degree, not only are you more marketable, but your earning potential has greatly increased. Although you might pay more now, in the long run, you will end up making more money than you could have otherwise.

Reasons to skip grad school:

  1. Your costs will outweigh your benefits

    Though grad school may allow you the opportunity to make more money, this isn't always true. Peterson's states that grad school cost “totals nearly $30,000 and at private schools nearly $40,000” [1]. Depending on how much you can make with an advanced degree and how long it takes you to pay off your advanced degree, you might be spending more than you can make. Also consider you might have undergraduate student loans that you are still trying to pay off. It's important to make sure you are viewing the full picture of the money involved and understand what you will make in your long-term future.

  2. You are unsure what career path you want to take

    If you're uncertain where you want to go with your career, grad school is not a logical option for you. Grad school is meant for furthering research and creating networking opportunities in your desired area of study. If you are unsure whether or not you want to pursue a certain career talk to professionals in the industry or get an internship to test out the waters. One of the worst things you could do it so invest in a degree or in a school that won't hold your interest.

  3. You didn't get a job right out of college

    So the end of college hits and you don't have a job lined up. You're freaking out a little bit and you think, “It's alright. I'll go to grad school and figure my life out there.” Be aware, this is dangerous territory. Grad school is not the place to figure out your life. Similar to the point above, doing this can waste your time and money. Be sure you have a strategy for graduate school and your plans upon earning your degree.


[1] Is the Cost of a Graduate Degree Worth It?


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