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To Grad School Or Not to Grad School?

Posted on the 06 March 2012 by Ncrimaldi @MsCareerGirl
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If you’re a recent graduate, you might face a major decision: do you continue your education through grad school, or do you jump into the field and start looking for a job? In a recent U.S. News survey of undergraduate programs, approximately 26 percent of recent grads made the decision to go on for further education. This statistic shows that graduate school is no longer considered an automatic choice for recent college graduates, so this is a decision worth weighing carefully.

A clear career path

If you want to benefit from graduate programs you ought to have clearly defined goals and know that a further degree can help you attain that goal. In some careers, like law or speech pathology, graduate programs are essential. Knowing whether you should go to graduate school starts with defining your goals for your future or current career.

Stuck in a career rut

If you’re already in your career and find yourself in a position where you can’t advance anymore, it may be time to consider graduate school. Online degree programs can allow you to pursue further training while maintaining your current work schedule, and a master’s may be the boost you need to gain an edge on that promotion you have your eye on.

Before jumping into a degree program, take time to research the job prospects in your field. If everyone in upper level management in your firm has graduate degrees, this could be a sign that an advanced degree could help you. Since graduate school represents a sizeable investment of time and resources make sure it will help you attain your goals before enrolling.

Alternatives to graduate school

Today’s job market is challenging, and because of this some new graduates are rushing into graduate programs to avoid entering the slow job market which could be a dangerous reason to pursue graduate training. In some fields, work experience is just as valuable as further training. If you are in one of these fields, then an internship may be more valuable than graduate school. Again, the key is to know your career goals and know what is required to help you reach them.

Similarly, those who are certain that another degree will boost their income potential may want to re-think their decision. On average those with master’s degrees do earn more, but this is not guaranteed.

There is no denying the job market is difficult right now which has led many women back to the classroom to pursue further training. For some, further education works well, opening career doors and networking opportunities, but you need to invest in graduate training only if it stands to benefit your career in the long term. Take the time to evaluate where you are now and what your potential prospects will be, and then make the decision about pursuing a degree.

Have you thought about grad school? Is anything holding you back? Do you think students should go to grad school only after gaining “real world” experience or is going straight away the new way to go? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Tagged as: college graduates, gen y, gen y careers, grad school, recent graduates

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