Should you attend grad school?

Only you can know the answer as to whether you should attend grad school or not, as it depends on your personal reasons and circumstances.

However, if you are determined to be a doctor or a lawyer, then the answer is clear-cut: you have to obtain a doctorate degree in order to practice. If you are thinking of doing a master’s degree in a less-lucrative field, then think more about your career aspirations.

After all, certain master’s degrees will only benefit you if you wish to teach at the collegiate level. Therefore, ask yourself what you hope to get out of the degree program and if it can benefit your career. However, if your future salary would be higher with an advanced degree, then it would be worth your while to pursue it. Should you attend grad school? To help you in your decision, here are the pros and cons of attending. Once you know the reasons for and against, you will be in a better position to determine whether grad school is for you.

What is a grad school program?

A graduate school program in the United States is commonly known as a “grad school.” You can study for a master’s degree or a doctorate degree in a specialized subject. Master’s degree programs typically last for two years and you can obtain a master’s in numerous subjects, from veterinary science to landscape architecture. Doctorate’s degree programs usually last four of five years. Additionally, some universities will have graduate programs in your field of study that are more outstanding than others. Take the time to do some research to determine which school offers the better graduate experience and may give you an edge in the workforce upon graduation.

There are also many different fields of study to choose from, but the studies are much more in depth. Some professions require you to have a doctorate’s degree before you can be employed. For example, you are not allowed to practice law without having obtained a juris doctorate degree, and you cannot practice medicine without a medical doctorate.

Reasons Why You Should Attend Grad School

Why should you attend grad school? Remember going to grad school affects a few years of your life, so it is not something to enter into lightly. Degree programs can also be expensive and are usually mentally and emotionally draining. It is therefore important to make sure you know exactly what to expect before you decide to apply. Weigh the pros and cons and be aware of the cost and commitment required.

What are the pros of attending grad school? Consider the following:

  • Career advancement. Your career opportunities are wider if you have a graduate degree. This is especially true if you wish to further your career in a field you already work in, such as healthcare, psychology or social work.
  • Career change. If you are bored or dissatisfied with your current job, attending grad school can help you to change your career. Obtaining a grad degree means you can apply for jobs that were not within your grasp previously.
  • Increasing earnings. Many people attend grad school so they can make more money. Everyone wants more money but be wary of this being your sole motivation for attending grad school, because it is a serious commitment you are embarking upon.
  • Increasing knowledge. Perhaps this is the most important reason for why you should choose to go to grad school. After all, any education course is ultimately about increasing knowledge of a certain subject. It should therefore be a subject you are interested in and want to learn more about. Learning can just be for learning’s sake. However, if this is the sole reason you wish to attend grad school, you need to be sure you have the time and finances to study.

Reasons Why You Should Not Attend Grad School

There are just as many reasons for not attending grad school as there are for attending. Only by knowing both sides of the coin can you make an informed decision as to whether grad school is for you. Consider the following:

  • Delaying joining the workforce. You might spend more time in school because you’re unsure of your career path. However, the more time in education you spend, the more you obtain the mindset of being a permanent student, which can make it harder to eventually leave and dive into the real world of careers. It may be easy to kid yourself that you have another reason for attending grad school when the real reason is you want to delay joining the workforce. Make sure you are being honest with yourself.
  • Putting a strain on relationships. Studying for a grad degree puts a great strain on you and your personal relationships. To complete a grad degree, a huge amount of self-discipline and priority-setting is required. This can interfere with your family obligations and your relationships with others. There are practical matters to think of as well. For instance, you may need to move closer to campus, but this puts your spouse farther away from work.
  • It can be very expensive to attend graduate school. The state of your finances may even create a large debt. In turn, that could mean you end up accepting the first job you can find after leaving grad school. Make sure you have a way to pay for your education.
  • Limited jobs. If you have embarked on a grad degree because you want to work in a specific job sector, do not presume you will be able to find a job after completing your degree. Finding work in an academic field can be particularly difficult. If you have banked on jobs being available, you could be disappointed and find yourself resentful of spending all that time and money on your grad school tuition.

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