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The 5 Worst Reasons To Attend Graduate School

Photo By: SLU Madrid Campus/Flickr

When graduation begins approaching, many students are contemplating whether they should go to graduate school or not. There are a variety of reasons why individuals decide to go to graduate school and a variety of reasons why they opt out. According to a report done by the Council of Graduate Schools, enrollment in graduate programs has dropped for the second consecutive year. The main reasons for the drop are financial. Students seem to be concerned about building more debt and state budget cuts are forcing a cut in aid for graduate students.

According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, the level of student debt has exceeded $1-trillion. Because of the financial burden that loans and payment plans put on people, there are a few things that students should think about before enrolling into a graduate program. If the reasons below are thoughts that are going through your head, opting out of graduate school may be a better route for you.

1. You are not crazy about the major you graduated with.

When leaving college, it is normal to feel a bit unsure about the major you chose. Because most people have not had much more experience than an internship in college, it is impossible to know what to expect in an actual position. Most of us have went through the job listings on LinkedIn and Indeed at least once or twice and it is quite terrifying. Each listing makes the jobs look impossible which leads us to question the major and field we have chosen to be our career.

This is not a valid reason to go to graduate school. As you have read above, it is a lot of money and is a big financial burden for the majority of individuals. Instead of enrolling in graduate school in hopes of finding a new passion, find a job in your field and see if you like it. At one point in your academic career, you clearly enjoyed your major. Don’t let job listings and uncertainty scare you away just yet.

2. Mom and dad will be proud.

Of course your parents would be proud of you for going to graduate school. It is a huge success and something to be nothing less than proud of. Many parents urge their kids to go to graduate school. The parents may have graduate degrees and that may be something they find to be a generational achievement.

If you are going to graduate school because your parents will be proud, you should reconsider. It is not worth the hard work and expenses unless it is something you truly want to do. Find a job that you enjoy and you may decide to go to graduate school in the future. And if not, that is ok too. As for telling your parents about your decision, explain to them that the reason you would enroll in a graduate program would be to make them happy so you would rather save the money and use your Bachelor’s degree to find a job you enjoy.

3. The real world is scary.

You’re right, the real world is scary but you will have to face it someday. Many individuals find themselves lost and scared at the end of college when thinking about getting a “real” job. Students do not know what to expect and why should they? An internship does not show what being in a real position is like and neither does the college life.

The best thing to do if this is your reason for going to graduate school, is to overcome that fear and get a job in your field. Try it out and you may be surprised with how well you adjust to the life of a career person.

4. You will make more money if you go to graduate school.

This is true in some cases but not all. Majors such as engineering, computer programming, and business are majors that are more likely to benefit from graduate school. Law and Medicine are obvious beneficiaries. Majors in the humanities are not as likely to show any significant increases in salaries because of a graduate degree.

This is something to look into. Calculate what type of debt you will come out with and work with the numbers. Also, see what the salaries look like in the field you will be going into. If there is not a significant increase in salary and if the debt is too much, opting out may suit you better.

5. It will look good on a resume.

Your resume may look a tad better if it shows a master’s degree or a doctorate degree but what often looks just as appealing to employers is a good amount of experience. Going right out of college and getting a job is a great way to improve your resume. It is also a much more reasonable way to.

Forbes has an article where Georgetown University graduate Chereen Zaki ran into a problem in which she was considered overqualified because she had gotten her Master’s degree. In this tough economy, “Those in charge of hiring worry an “over educated” candidate will demand too much pay or be dissatisfied with what’s being offered” and this is another way to look at whether the degree is worth it or not.

This is not a valid reason to get a graduate degree. It may be somewhat true and could benefit you but weigh out the pros and cons before using this as a reason to enroll.

This does not apply to everyone. People that are in the fields of law and medicine are better off and usually required to attend graduate school. Mary Ann Owens, Professor of Journalism at Virginia Commonwealth University, does not think graduate school is for everybody but does feel that advancing your knowledge is never a bad idea especially with the way the world is evolving. She says, “Experienced application of knowledge, theory and skill also is important” and “Best case scenario is to find a job that will foot the bill for advanced study.” This is something for you to consider if you are hoping to attend graduate school but for now weigh your options, do some research, and make your decision for the right reasons.

  • written by chanshaw on December 13th, 2012
  • posted in Edit
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The Hub Bub is a collection of articles, videos, audio, photo slideshows, interactive maps and other media produced by students enrolled in journalism courses at Loyola University Chicago's School of Communication. For more about the School of Communication, our award winning faculty, and our state of the art facilities located in the heart of Chicago, visit our website.