Now that you’ve finished your undergraduate degree, the next logical step in your career progression could be to find a job in your desired field or go back to school for an advanced degree. Grad school can be a great way to advance your career and make yourself more competitive in the job market. In fact, some career paths may even require an advanced degree.

However, it’s important to remember that grad school is not for everyone. Deciding whether or not to get a master’s degree is a big decision, so you’ll want to do your research and think long and hard before applying and going through the process.

Is Grad School For You?

When making a decision as big as whether or not to attend grad school, there are many things you should consider. 

Time Commitment

It’s no secret that going back to school to pursue a graduate degree is a big commitment that will require a lot of time. According to, it “typically takes eighteen months to two years of full-time study” to complete a graduate program. How much time you spend in grad school depends on your course load.

Opportunity Cost

Here’s a simple and important concept you should be aware of when deciding whether or not to pursue a graduate degree: opportunity cost. Simply put, that means you have to consider what you’re giving up by going back to school. Are you abandoning your current job or putting off your career in exchange for another one—and will it be worth it in terms of earning potential?

The estimated cost of attending graduate school is between $30,000 to $40,000 per year. This means that many individuals who plan on becoming graduate students will likely take on some type of student loan debt. 

Career Goals

For some people, their goal is to master a subject. For others, it’s about advancing in their current career by getting an advanced degree. So what are your goals as a graduate student? When you’re trying to decide if grad school is right for you and if you should go or not, think about what motivates you; what are your career goals, and how can graduate school help you achieve them? Knowing these answers will be hugely important when it comes time to consider applying.

Even though earning an advanced degree is a big achievement, it might not be necessary for everyone. Depending on what field you choose to enter, a bachelor’s degree might be sufficient enough to land the job you want and start gaining work experience.

A common misconception about grad school is that it will give you a better or more lucrative career. If your undergraduate degree has led you to where you want to be professionally, then graduate school might not be for you.

What to Do After College

It can be confusing trying to figure out what to do after you graduate from college. Some people choose to go right into full-time work after college, while others may choose to continue their education. Although it may be a time commitment, getting into a graduate program is worthwhile if you have your heart set on it.

Taking A Gap Year

If grad school is something you’re interested in, consider taking some time off before enrolling.

A year after finishing your bachelor’s degree is a good time to take a step back, reflect on what you’ve learned, and decide where you want to go next. Having that perspective and breathing room can give you a lot of clarity about what really matters.

Regardless of whether or not you decide to pursue an advanced degree after college, it’s always important to sit down and think about what your next steps are going to be.
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