Grad School: Why Going Makes Sense

Grad School: Why Going Makes Sense
  • Opening Intro -

    You've considered attending graduate (grad) school, but are wondering if the investment is worth it.

    Grad school means about two more years of higher education, but the per credit costs and fees are greater than undergraduate school and your financial aid options are limited.

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Attending grad school is essential for some careers including college level teaching, advanced engineering, and for most research positions. Thus, attending grad school can open up a number of doors that an undergraduate degree alone cannot open.

1. Job opportunities. There are certain careers that require at least a graduate degree, but there are also job opportunities that might miss you without an advanced degree. Some companies, in a bid to hire and retain the most educated workforce, raise the education level one notch. It may provide a better prepared workforce for the company and help the company weed out candidates. Obtaining a grad degree may not guarantee career success, but it can make you more marketable.

2. Career advancement. Your first job out of college may be a simple position, one that a high school graduate could handle with ease. But that position is simply a steppingstone to something greater, one of several steps you may want to take as you move through your career. As you move up the ladder you may find that you’ll hit a glass ceiling. That glass ceiling may be in place for a number of reasons, but a lack of a graduate degree could be the difference.

3. Financial remuneration. Receiving extra money for a graduate degree is not always a given. In some states, teachers with advanced degrees receive the same salary as those with an undergraduate degree. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) offers excellent information about job pay scales. The US Census Bureau shows that people with a graduate degree make at least $12,000 per year more than those without an advanced degree. That means your grad school investment could be paid back within four years with another 30 to 40 years left to reap the greater rewards.

4. Peer recognition. Who you are may be just as important to your peers as it is to you. In some professions, your education gives you added weight and credibility, considerations that should not be ignored as you weigh a professional degree. That recognition can open up a number of doors including new positions, a board appointment, political office, and more.

5. Personal growth. What is a graduate degree worth to you? Look beyond the financial compensation and the peer recognition and you may find that such a degree aligns with who you are and what you want to become. Personal growth is important to many people who may not necessarily be identified by the higher education degree, but the knowledge that they would not have otherwise attained.

Grad School Considerations

If you are leaning toward attending graduate school, then you are in good company. You should explore your options and find several schools that you would consider attending. Read up about each one and, if possible, visit the campuses. As you search these schools, plan to take your GRE or other graduate examination. Apply to the schools that interest you and carefully make your choice based on the one that is right for you.

See AlsoHow to Pay for Grad School

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Categories: Advanced Education