Congratulations! Your diploma is safely tucked away up on a shelf, the last bits of confetti from the backyard graduation party are being spread around by your dad’s lawnmower, and you’ve deposited every last check that was tucked away inside Hallmark’s finest.
Let’s say you applied and got accepted into grad school. Master’s degree, here you come! Or...should you? It seems like you’ve been in school forever, and the idea of a homework-free night sounds pretty amazing right now. So should you go to grad school right after undergrad, or wait a while? Here’s a few thoughts on each side of the debate.
Why You Should Go to Grad School Now
Keep Your Momentum
When you finish your undergraduate degree you’re in the groove of school, and grad school keeps the forward motion going. Once you get a taste of “life after school,” the sweet smell of “no more homework” may be too intoxicating, and the longer you stay out of school, the harder it can be to jump back in. While the school train is rolling forward, stay on board until you’ve reached that next station.
While it may not seem like it (searching for quarters for laundry, anyone?), this is as good a financial time as ever to go to grad school. You’re used to the scholarship and loan process, and you’ve gotten used to living on a budget as an undergrad. Before you start thinking about buying that house with the white picket fence and getting your “American Dream” on, stick it out while you have that budget-centered mindset.
You should definitely go straight into grad school if you’re aiming for a field where advanced or terminal degrees are necessary, e.g. research and academia. Aiming for a Ph.D? Don’t stop the momentum, you’re going to need as much as you can get!
Why You Shouldn’t Go Straight Into Grad School
Get Some Experience
The job market isn’t likely to get any less competitive, so you should get some work experience while you’re fresh and raring to go. A couple years of experience will help boost your resumé and will strengthen your graduate school application. In fact, with so many programs being online or offering part-time and evening courses, you could keep working while adding more letters to your name. It’s a win, win.
Try It Out First
Who knows? After a year or two of work in your chosen field, you might realize it’s just not for you and you want a career shift. If you’re not certain about your career track, hold off on grad school and figure that out first. That way, you won’t have spent a significant amount of time and money on a graduate degree in a field you don’t even want to pursue long-term.
Not Just a Fallback
It’s definitely not a wise plan to go to grad school only as a fallback option. Given the time and money you’ll invest in a graduate degree, you want to have a solid purpose for going to grad school and definitive career goals. “It’s my only option” is definitely not on the list of good reasons to go to grad school.
It’s decision time! Sort out your options, weigh up all of the factors, and go all in for whatever the next phase holds!
Ready to start exploring your options? See all the graduate programs available to you here at UL Lafayette!