Here at UL Lafayette, we believe that earning a graduate degree is one of the best ways for you to pursue your passions and reach your personal and professional goals. Having a graduate degree can be an asset or even essential, depending on what you plan to spend your life doing.
There are plenty of reasons to get a graduate degree, but there are also plenty of reasons not to get a graduate degree. We’ve put together a list of the worst reasons to get a graduate degree … so if you’re using any of these to justify getting your graduate degree, you may want to reconsider your plans and explore other options first.
1. You think grad school is your only option
Maybe you’re not sure what else to do, you’re bored with things as they are now, or you’re not sure what your passion is. That’s the wrong approach. When you’re considering graduate school, you should think “Yay!” and not “Meh.” You should be excited about broadening and deepening your knowledge, learning more than you ever imagined! The first step to finding the right graduate program for you is to figure out what your passions are—and then find a program that fits you, not the other way around.
2. You think it will improve your job prospects
This definitely isn’t one of the worst reasons to go to grad school, but it shouldn’t be the only reason. If you’re an experienced professional and want to move up in your industry, then you should consider a master’s degree. If you’re an undergraduate who can’t find a job, a master’s degree may not solve your problems. You need to make sure your graduate program fits your ambitions and career goals, and that combination of passion and knowledge will lead you to the career you’re looking for.
3. You want to continue the “college experience”
News flash: getting your graduate degree is not the same experience as getting your undergrad. You’ll probably get the same amount of sleep, but not because you’re spending your nights partying—it’s because you’ll be spending your nights completing readings, perfecting your writing and scholarly analysis, and analyzing your research data. But you love it! Because you’re delving deeper into the subjects that excite and interest you.
4. Somebody told you it was a good idea
“Fine, Mom! I’ll go to grad school!” should not be the start of your graduate career. But to be clear: having someone pressure you into going to graduate school is different from someone offering their advice. It’s important that you go to grad school on your own terms, but it’s a good idea to reach out to people who have gone through the graduate program you’re considering. Sourcing opinions can help you make your decision—but be sure that you’re the one who makes it.
5. Everybody else is doing it
This is never a good enough reason to get a grad degree. Forge your own path! This is the time to be selfish and think about yourself. Why do you want to earn your master’s or PhD? Because you have the drive, the ambition, the excitement, and the passion for what you’re studying.