Four Good Reasons for Going to Grad School

In this tough economy, you may have trouble landing a job, especially if you are a recent grad with no substantive work experience. During the worst of the recession, many students decided to ride out the terrible unemployment rate by going back to school. Now, many of those students have lost out on possible job experience, and have a relatively worthless degree and loads of student debt. Going back to grad school, it seems, may have been the wrong decision after all. Still, there are both good and bad reasons for going to grad school. If you are considering a grad school track, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. Here are a few:

1.      You’re seriously considering a career in academia.

Most graduate degrees, with the exception of professional degrees like law and medicine, are training specifically for academics (i.e., university professors and researchers). As such, say you are considering a Master’s degree in English. It won’t be English undergrad 2.0. It will be very specific study of a specific problem in English literature, coupled with pedagogy classes that train you to be a professor. As such, for most graduate-level degrees, especially in the humanities, you must seriously want to eventually become a professor. Otherwise the degree is essentially worthless.

2.      Someone else is paying for it.

The best reason for NOT going to graduate school is the often exorbitant cost. Not only will you be losing the opportunity cost of being out of the job market and not making money, but if you have to pay for tuition yourself, you’ll be adding another significant cost. On the other hand, if you are independently wealthy, have parents who have agreed to front the total cost, or you receive scholarship money that covers tuition, it may be a good idea to go to grad school, if your heart is really in it.

3.      Your dream job absolutely requires a graduate degree.

There are some career paths that do require post-graduate education, most notably law school and medical school. Other career paths that would require post-graduate degrees include library science, accounting, and certain school and government administration careers.

4.      You want to go into a field completely unrelated to your undergraduate major.

Perhaps you may find yourself in the position of having completed undergraduate degree, but you’ve decided what you studied is completely removed from what you eventually want to do. For example, say you studied history but you want to go into website design, a field that requires quite a bit of technical knowledge of which you possess none. This may be an instance in which doing at least some post-grad schooling will be necessary.


Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031