College Advice Blog

Oct 22, 2012

3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Going to Grad School

So you’ve got your degree, you’re graduated and ready for the world, but somehow all you find yourself doing is sitting in your mom’s basement playing World of Warcraft. What do you do? There is no work to be had, so you start making plans for graduate school so that your parents will  stop breathing down your neck and you don’t have to feel like a washed up failure. But hold your horses. Besides the obvious dangers of such a negative view of yourself there are a few other things that need to be looked at. Before you go off running back to the relative comfort of the familiar surroundings of academia, ask yourself a few important questions.

Will I Be Able to Find Work Afterward?

Lots of fields require at least a master’s before you’re really of any use, but many others don’t have such lofty requirements, and still others are useless if you don’t reach a doctoral level. The biggest question however is whether you need to gather work experience in your field now, or if it’s ok to wait till after your graduate degree. Showing up for a high level position with your graduate degree and no experience is about as bad as showing up to an entry level position heavily overqualified and looking like a threat to your interviewer (or the kind of person who might kick up a fuss about the low salary).

Will Anyone Pay me To Learn?

In an economy as bad as ours is right now it’s pretty important to keep a close eye on your bank account. If you’re like the rest of us you probably went into debt to get your undergrad degree. Staying a student will help keep the interest from kicking in, but that’ll be a small comfort if you end up financing your graduate work with more loans. Unless you’re going into a highly lucrative field like engineering you might find yourself a debt slave for decades to come. If you can get a teaching assistantship or research position to cover your cost of tuition you’ll be in great shape. Make sure that you apply to many different universities in hopes of snagging such an opportunity.

Is It Worth It To Go Further Into Debt?

If you can’t get your schooling financed you have to sit down and decide whether you’re willing to go into more debt in order to get a higher level of education. The question is, can you afford to absorb the debt? Will the job you hope to get pay off the loan in a reasonable amount of time? Referring back to the first question, will you even be able to get that job? If your prospects for a job as well as the salary aren’t greatly improved, compared to the lower level of education, and fully make up for the loss that you incur from the debt, then it’s probably not worth it do it.

About the Author 
Alan Brady is a passionate blogger who spends his time researching and writing about the economy, recent job market trends and business. He is currently writing for the employment lawyers locator,

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