Is Graduate School Right For You?
Some college students progress to graduate school to earn either a master’s degree or a doctoral degree. With a graduate degree, students can increase their potential for earnings, though some of the drawbacks of attending graduate school include more student debt and increased stress.
Graduate school is a tempting prospect for plenty of working professionals and undergraduates, but what does it entail? What are the benefits of going, and is graduate school right for you? We will be answering these questions and more throughout this article.
Why Students Attend Graduate School
There are several reasons why students attend graduate school. For instance, many learners require an advanced degree to qualify for a particular job and licensure. This is generally the primary motivator for those who want to become lawyers, social workers, psychologists, and doctors.
Those who want to remain in academia and become professors will also need to earn their graduate degrees, which is generally a doctorate. Sometimes, the motivation is more complicated. Perhaps a Ph.D. candidate is passionate about finding the solution to a particular problem within their profession via research.
Pursuing a doctorate will let them dedicate entire years to said research, while another student might apply to graduate school to become an expert in their field. Even if your dream job does not require you to attend graduate school, an advanced degree can help you earn a higher salary and rise through the professional ranks.
Should You Go To Graduate School?
When trying to figure out whether you should attend graduate school, you must consider your motivations. Be honest with yourself, and ask yourself why you want to earn a graduate degree.
If you are only planning to pursue a master’s degree, your commitment could cost you thousands, and you will likely need to spend at least a few more years in school and miss any potential income from working during those years. While some tertiary institutions offer part-time programs to allow students to work full-time, working and studying at the same time can be overwhelming.
Pursuing a doctorate can mean 4 – 7 more years of school, and depending on the field, you could be facing rather grim job prospects. Tenured academic positions are infamously challenging to obtain, and adjunct faculties usually do not have stable work.
Many aspects of graduate school will be out of our control. If you do not like your advisor, you might struggle to find success. They are your boss and mentor when you are pursuing your degree, and changing advisors can be difficult without altogether dropping the program.
Securing a job is also not a guarantee, as you might even become overqualified for many positions, which will make it more difficult to find work in your field. Finally, because your wages will be so low, it can be a challenge to save money until you have finally earned your graduate degree.
In the end, you are the only person who can decide whether graduate school is right for you. Remember – this choice will have a significant impact on your future career trajectory, so take some time to think over all of your options before you come to a decision.