Should You Go to Graduate School?
Pursuing higher education is sometimes hard to call, and you might feel overwhelmed by everything, such as tuition fees, possible scholarships, student loans, possible job opportunities, etc. which would all influence your decision of whether to go with it or not.
We are here today to help you with that decision. In this article, we are going to present what are the possible graduate programs you can get, what are the reasons for going to graduate school, what are the reasons for not going to graduate school, and what sources you could use for financing grad school.
So, without any further due, let’s get into it!
WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS REGARDING GRADUATE PROGRAMS?
With the advancement of technology, more and more highly educated people are needed, which led to an increasing number of applications for graduate schools.
That’s why we wanted to present what are your options when it comes to getting a grad school degree since there are two different graduate degrees to choose from Master’s degree and Doctoral degree.
I. Master’s Degree
Master’s degree is the most common type of grad school degrees.
Master programs usually last up to 2 years and they include different types of jobs and fields, which all give a different type of master’s degree.
- Master of Science (M.S.) – social science and technology fields;
- Master of Arts (M.A.) – natural sciences
- Master of Fine Arts (MFA) – Art;
- Master of Business Administration (MBA) – business.
All of these degrees could help you to possibly advance your careers and perhaps get a job that is paid higher than usual or that offers some additional options, such as using more advanced equipment.
II. Doctoral Degree (Ph.D.)
The second very common degree you can get in grad school is a Ph.D. or a doctoral degree.
You can get it for a wide range of options and fields, such as IT, history, engineering, psychology, computer science, etc.
This degree means that you achieved the highest education and that you have completed basic and advanced understanding of your field.
Usually, if you would want to become a teacher or professor at the university, you would have to get a Ph.D.
III. Juris Doctor Degree (J.D.)
In case you want to become a lawyer or to work in the field of law, it is a good idea to get a Juris Doctor degree (J.D.) if you can. It lasts for three years, during which you can learn everything you need to know to become a successful lawyer, such as general principles of the law and all different types of law cases.
IV. Doctor of Medicine Degree (M.D.)
Known as one of the most prestigious graduate degrees is, of course, a doctor of medicine degree, which is a graduate program that lasts four years.
It doesn’t just include learning and doing paperwork research, but also some practical work in the healthcare system, where you can learn a lot.
V. Doctor of Dental Surgery Degree (D.D.S.)
Just like the master of medicine degree, doctor of dental surgery degree is highly prestigious amongst dentists and is considered to be a requirement if you want to work not just as dentist technician, but also to participate in research and development of the field.
REASONS FOR GRADUATE SCHOOL
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons that prove why going to graduate school could be useful for you and your future career and realistic life goals.
Remember that these points are not definite and they might not always be true.
1. Higher Salary
One of the most popular reasons to get some higher degree than BA or BS is, of course, in order to get paid more for your work.
Depending on the job position, the field and sometimes even the country you live in, you can get a higher salary, which could help you live your life the way you want it.
2. Possible Career Advancement
Another very common reason to go to graduate school is to move up the career ladder.
Depending on your job or field of study, there are different possibilities to advance in ranks and not just get better payment, but also to get a chance to get better and more advanced position in your company.
That would include more responsibility, higher pay, and perhaps more interesting job.
3. Changing Career
A lot of people work from day to day, not even loving their job.
That makes their life much harder because if you don’t find joy in things you do, you can get sad and depressed fast.
One good way to change that is to get a grad school degree because a higher degree can sometimes open new possibilities and get you the job you’ve always wanted.
4. Getting More Education
Jumping into grad school wouldn’t only help your career. It would also allow you to learn new things, new theories and advance further intellectually.
Most of the things you could also learn on your own, but it is more interesting and engaging to learn from people with experience and do your own tasks that you would have at grad school.
5. Get Recognized by the Community
Depending on the country you live in, you would get more or less recognition for your work and research you do.
Having a grad school degree also helps because people would respect you more for your higher education and possible achievements you had.
6. Get Recognized Internationally
Apart from domestic recognition, you can also receive international recognition.
This is especially true for some more advanced fields, such as microbiology, for example.
Plus, some grad schools diplomas are widely recognized all over the world and could help you find a very decent job, depending on your field of study.
7. Get Opportunities to Do Research
Sometimes people with grad school diploma can pursue their own research, depending on their field. However, that is not possible every time and for everyone.
In that case, you can sometimes participate in ongoing paid projects and research and be part of something bigger.
Many companies conduct those type of research, so don’t be afraid to try them out if you get a chance.
8. Earning Higher Education
Most people stop pursuing education when they reach a certain level, so they kind of don’t update their current knowledge of the field.
By going to grad school, you are in a position to continue updating your education in your or in some different field of study, which would, in return, open new development paths to you, giving you chances for more interesting work and better job.
9. Opportunity for Traveling
Grad school could be an opportunity for you to travel and see the world. You can go to a foreign grad school and see new countries that way.
Another way of doing this is to choose a field of study in which you need to travel a lot, for example, like in Archaeology. In order to get some experience in this field, you need to travel to historical locations all over the world, which would allow you to visit a lot of countries.
10. Find Opportunities to Teach Others
By having a grad school diploma, you could get the opportunity to teach other people what you have learned.
Depending on your GPA and several other factors, you might be invited to a university or college, where you would be able to teach other students.
The salary is nice, the job is prestigious and you get to stay and upgrade your own knowledge as well.
Not everyone is suited for teaching though, either because of the lower GPA or simply because they don’t like it and would prefer to do some practical work in their field instead.
11. Working on Advanced and Tougher Projects
By getting grad school diploma, you get access to higher education and knowledge, thus, also getting the opportunity to work on some very advanced and tougher projects that could change how things are being done in the field.
So, if that is your thing and you would like to bring some positive changes to the world, then there is no reason not to go to grad school.
12. Have Access to Better Equipment and Tools
Along with the previous point, by getting the opportunity to work on advanced projects, you also get access to some highly advanced equipment that is needed for those projects to be completed.
For example, if you get a grad school diploma and get employed by NASA, you can have access to the top-modern telescopes and computers to do your research.
On a different note, you could also get access to some tools and equipment at your University that you hadn’t had before, such as access to some sections of the library, to some equipment in the lab, etc.
13. Better Chances for Promotion in the Future
Even though getting a grad school degree doesn’t mean that you will get extra paid job or a promotion immediately, it does mean that you will most certainly have that opportunity later, if not in your current company, then in the next for sure.
14. Have More Time for Yourself
Since grad school diploma could open some career advancement paths that means you could get some higher position in your respected field, such as director, which would, depending on the field, give you more time to do some other activities, rather than spending all your time behind the desk.
For instance, you would have to go to meetings with clients, business dinners, golf and tennis sessions, etc.
15. Incentives for Employers
Depending on the company, you could actually get funded to go to grad school and improve your education, if it would benefit the company in some way.
Not every company does this, but in some fields, they tend to put some money on the side for things like this because they care about the development of their staff.
16. Knowledge Chain
By going to grad school, you would become a part of the advanced knowledge chain.
What that means is that you would learn from people, who also learned from other people, who had possibly learned this from great people and scientists.
By having access to this advanced knowledge, you continue to carry on that knowledge and possibly transfer it to younger generations if you become a teacher.
17. Because You Want to Do It
Some people like to do things simply to prove that they are capable of doing it.
Or they just want to learn something about the respected field.
Either way, it is the product of their will and strong attitude.
18. In Order to Stand Out of the Crowd
Another reason, perhaps not so important for everyone, to go to grad school is so you could get a prestige status and stand out of the crowd.
Not everyone has a master’s degree or Ph.D., so by completing some of those, you would stand out and let people know that you know a lot about a certain field.
19. To Get Free Tuition
Sometimes grad schools offer free tuition programs to the best students, depending on their grades.
Other times they often give some social benefits in order to help students who want to go to grad school, such as scholarships for student life expenses or they could offer you a work of teaching or research assistant in your school.
20. Because You Realize You Have the Interest to Do It
From the very young years, some people know they will go to a certain University and get higher education in certain fields.
However, there are some who don’t have such kind of long-term thoughts and don’t really know what they want to do with their lives until they finish high school or university.
That is when they might just realize that grad school is the perfect place for them to continue their journey.
REASONS AGAINST GRADUATE SCHOOL
Now that we went over some positive reasons for going to graduate school, let’s take a look at what would be the downside for doing it.
Alright, let’s start analyzing the reasons against the graduate schools.
1. Competition is Fierce
When it comes to the highest education, it is common practice that graduate programs offer fewer spots for applicants than undergraduate programs do.
That means competition in grad schools is much higher than in undergraduate studies.
So, the fight for a spot, scholarship, student job, is just much fiercer and you need to be prepared to take the loss in case you are not chosen for the position.
So better prepare for the long run, because you will have to outrun your competition – and it will be strong.
2. “Professional Student” Mindset
One of the bad impacts of constant studies could be the potential problem “professional student” way of thinking you might get.
That is a phenomenon that reflects the situation when a person is afraid of working, so he or she just doesn’t want to leave school.
3. You Need the Self-Discipline to Set Priorities
When it comes to finishing any school and university, as well as grad school, in order to succeed, you need to have a clear path and prioritize certain things, even if they aren’t as enjoyable as others.
This could have a large effect on both your life, as well as on the lives of the people that are close to you. So, before you decide, make sure to have a straight list of priorities ahead of you.
4. Good Cause Relationship Problems
A lot of times, going to grad school meaning going to another city or even country.
This usually doesn’t have a positive impact on your current relationship. Long term relationships are really hard to maintain, so they often end up with the breakup.
Also, in case you are married, it may be difficult to get a housing for both yourself and your wife/husband, since scholarship usually covers only part or whole tuition and some part of the cost of living.
Therefore, it may be hard to go to grad school if you want to have a healthy marriage.
5. It Can Be Stressful
Do you remember that feeling right before the test in elementary and high school? Well, multiply that by a hundred when it comes to having exams at university or grad school.
That kind of feeling can cause a lot of emotional stress and really exhaust people, which is one of the reasons why university and grad school are not for everyone.
6. Need to Write a Thesis
In most grad schools you have to write a thesis, which is research you have to do on a topic your tutor chooses for you.
It usually requires a lot of work, hours and commitment to finish it, which is why it is one of the most usual reason people take their time to graduate.
7. Need Emotional Support
All these things we have mentioned so far can cause a lot of stress and the best way to fight that stress is to have people around you, who are willing to help you go through that period of time.
Whether it’s your parents, friends or spouses, everyone needs someone to push them when everything seems hopeless and tell them to slow down if needed.
8. It Could Take Years of Your Life
Grad programs usually last for 1 or 2 years.
However, not everyone is able to finish it on time, due to either personal or financial troubles. It could also happen that your thesis isn’t good, so you have to do it all over again, or do some additional research for it.
So, getting your grad school degree could be prolonged for even several years.
Those are the years which you could use to do other things, such as traveling, rather study more. It is really personal preference.
9. Additional Cost for Education
Depending on your field of study and country you want to go to grad school, the tuition fees can be really large, especially if you don’t get a scholarship, which would either cover all of your study expenses or just a part of it.
Some programs offer part-time work along with your studies, but in case that is not the case, then tuition fees can be huge and not everyone can afford it.
10. Graduate and Get Large Debt
The expensive tuition fees we had talked about can really push students into large debts because of using student loans.
In that case, it is very hard to repay these loans, so people start to accept all kind of jobs after they graduate, just so they could repay their loans, which often leads to them not being satisfied with their job and current life.
IF you find yourself in the situation, however, you should really do something about those student loans before they take over your life.
11. You Might Not Get a Higher Salary
Depending on the situation in your company or in your country, getting a grad school degree doesn’t have to mean that you will get a better position or higher salary.
Perhaps there are enough people to fill those roles, or perhaps some people have better scores on performance tests for employees, meaning that they would be first to get a promotion if there is available position.
12. It May Take Some Time for It to Pay Off
On the other hand, sometimes you can get a higher salary immediately after finishing grad school, but you need to think about the real effect.
You would still need to pay off your student loans or tuition fees, which could take a while, depending on how long you had studied.
So, put it on the paper and try to wage whether it would be good for you to get grad school diploma or not.
13. Possible Lack of Job Opportunities
For some fields and jobs, getting a grad school degree might not even be needed because it wouldn’t open too much job paths.
In those fields, the most usual job you would get with grad school degree is teaching job, which is not for everyone and not everyone would like being a teacher.
So, that said, it might not be worth your time to pursue grad school degree.
14. Job Locations You Don’t Like
Sometimes, a grad school degree opens new job possibilities that could be very good, but have one flaw, location.
We already talked about the influence of the grad school location on your relationship and your life in general. It also applies to the job location.
After finishing grad school, you might get a job mostly in some locations that you don’t like or they are too far from your family.
Not everyone is brave enough to make this work and go far away from their loved ones.
15. Over Qualification
Depending on the field of study and, sometimes the economic situation in the country and world, having a grad school degree could mean that you are just too qualified to do certain jobs, in which case it would be much harder for you to find new job because people often don’t want to accept people who are overqualified, while there are people in line who are very well qualified for the job in question.
HOW DO I FINANCE MY GRAD SCHOOL PROGRAM?
As said above, getting your grad school degree can be a very costly business, so here are some suggestions on how to finance it:
- Scholarships – some grad schools offer lower tuition fees and scholarship, depending on your financial situation, previous grades, and some other factors. Apart from that, you can try searching for other organizations that give scholarships for grad school programs.
- Getting a Teaching Assistant position – some grad schools offer their students a chance to get paid teaching assistant position, allowing them to pay for their studies much easier.
- Getting Research position/funding – depending on the field, you could also get funds to do some research or a paid research position, which would help you with your tuition fees.
- Education programs for employees – some companies offer their employees a chance to improve their education, by covering some part or even full tuition for grad schools.
- Higher salary – companies that are not in a financial position to help their employees by funding the tuition fees sometimes offer an alternative, which is an increased salary.
- Family loan – if your family have money, they could help you fund your education, which is a great help.
- Insurance scholarships – there are insurance companies that offer an insurance policy that can only be used for funding education. However, this must be done by parents long before their children get to grad school.
- Personal savings – if you have some money on the side, you can always spend it on going to grad school. However, it is not easy to do this, especially if you can’t find well-paid jobs to help you with that. However, it may be worth it, so there is no harm to try.
There you go, folks!
We discussed whether it would be beneficial to you to go to grad school, why would you want to go, what are the reasons you wouldn’t want to go, what are your options when it comes to grad school degrees and what are the ways you can use to finance grad school programs.
What remains, is for you to wage everything we had said with your capabilities and desires and decide whether you want to go to grad school or not.
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