Advanced degrees are an absolute necessity in some professions. If you want to become a doctor, lawyer or professor, you have to go to graduate school. In other industries, a master’s degree or PhD can help increase earning potential but isn’t a requirement.
Going to grad school is a big step that should involve a thought of consideration beforehand. Graduate school can be financially and mentally draining. If you want to go, ask yourself why.
If any of the following reasons to go to grad school are at the top of your list, you might want to reconsider your decision or at least spend a bit more time mulling things over:
1. The college experience was so great, you want to prolong it. Classes and exams take effort, but there’s a lot to be said about campus life, college parties, spring break excursions and three-day weekends. If you expect graduate school to be an extension of your undergraduate years, you might be in for a rude awakening. It will be a lot different.
2. A graduate degree will make you feel better about yourself. Maybe your parents are both doctors and your older brother is an engineer who brings home a six figure salary…which makes you feel a little less than wonderful about yourself. Grad school should not be used as a self esteem booster. In fact, the stress of being a grad student could cause you even bigger problems.
3. Everyone else is doing it. You wouldn’t run out and get a mortgage just because everyone in your circle of friends was a homeowner, would you? Financing a graduate degree isn’t something to be taken lightly, either.
4. Your student loan payments are going to kick in. If you borrowed so much money during your undergraduate years that you are afraid—or unable—to start making your student loan payments, taking on more debt isn’t the solution. Look into loan deferment or forbearance instead.
5. People expect you to go. In some families, children are expected to go to college. In other families, they’re expected to go on to graduate school, too. Committing to two or three (or more!) additional years of schooling just because your mother or father thinks it’s a good idea…well, isn’t a good idea!
6. The job search isn’t going well. Times are tough. The media is full of depressing stories about baristas and retail associates with college degrees. Maybe you can’t even get an interview for either of those positions! The fact that you can’t get a job shouldn’t be the main reason you decide to go to graduate school. What’s going to happen when you can’t find a job two years from now? You’ll just get another degree?
7. Your boss is a jerk. Sometimes, you are going to have to deal with people that you just don’t like. It’s a simple fact of life. Unfortunately, those people are sometimes your superiors at work. If your job situation is truly unbearable due to your boss, why do you think going back to school will make things any better?
8. It will impress people. A master’s degree might help improve your resume, but it’s not like a pair of designer jeans or fancy sports car! It isn’t a golden ticket to the best clubs and restaurants in town, either. Truth be told, most people couldn’t care less where you went to school.
9. It’s time for a change. Bored? Don’t mistake school for a hobby. Examine everything that’s going on in your life before you commit to a master’s degree or PhD.
10. You were always a great student. Some people can earn straight A’s without even trying. To them, a B is equivalent to failing! That doesn’t mean they should stay in school for the rest of their lives, though. If it isn’t really necessary for professional reasons, you shouldn’t go to grad school just because you’re a good student.
Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.
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