Grad School or Get a Job? The Pro's and Con's

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Should you go straight into a Graduate program after college?

With the fall school year on the horizon, many recent graduates are filing into the classroom to start their Graduate degree program. While having a Master's degree can raise your job opportunities and your earning potential, deciding when to start can be tough. For those who just graduated with their Bachelor's degree, the choice is to either work in the industry for a few years or enroll in a post-graduate program right away.

Which is the best way to go?

To be honest, there isn't really a "right way" to do it, and opinion seems to be split. There are compelling reasons to treat Graduate school as "College, Part 2" and equally compelling reasons to get some job experience first.

Let's take a look at both sides of the debate:

Why you should go to Grad School first
  • Graduate school before taking on other responsibilities - By going straight into a graduate program, students can harness the momentum from their undergraduate studies. Although, it's important to note that Master's degree programs are typically a very different experience than college. The workload is heavy and doesn't leave much time or energy to devote to anything else. For some people, it just makes sense to get this part of their education out of the way before they have other responsibilities like a career or a family.
  • Be sure it doesn't get postponed indefinitely - There are lots of people who plan on going to grad school but opt to spend a few years working in their profession first. During the time they are working, life and other obligations creep in and as the years go by, getting a Master's degree becomes something that would be difficult to fit into their lives. Once you have a career and even a family, it becomes more difficult to get started.

  • You can relocate for a job or a graduate program - For a single college graduate, relocating for a great career opportunity or even for a graduate program is easier. Chasing your dreams, even if they lead you to another state or even another country is exciting. However, many people who are working in jobs they enjoy or have families find it more difficult to make those types of transitions.
Why you should start your career first:
  • Get real world experience - Opting to work for a few years before continuing with your education gives you time to use the skills you learned in College and feel competent in your profession before taking the next step. Typically, people who have been working in their field are a little older, maybe a bit wiser and they tend to be better students.
  • Find out if you really enjoy the profession - There are many people who have degrees in fields that they don't end up working. After college, they found a job and then realized that the industry isn't really for them, and they have found other jobs that they enjoy more. After finding the career field that they are passionate about, they can then decide what sort of graduate program will fit their new career path.
  • Prevent burn out - After four years of college, some students are just burned out with school. Working for a few years helps to develop their confidence and sometimes they can even find employers who are willing to provide tuition assistance. Also, many people find that their outlook on the value of education changes after they have been working for awhile, making them more motivated graduate student.
The decision to join the workforce or continue your education is something that you really have to think about. What is right for one person isn't going to be right for everyone. The most important thing is to do what you feel is best, rather than feel pressured to do one or the other.

Which way do you think is best? Did you get a job after college? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

By Melissa Kennedy- Melissa is a 9 year blog veteran and a freelance writer for EducationJobsiteBlog. Along with helping others find the job of their dreams, she enjoys computer geekery, raising a teenager, supporting her local library, writing about herself in the third person and working on her next novel.


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