Should You Go For A Graduate Degree?

For certain jobs, attending a graduate school is a minimum requirement. For others, a graduate degree can help us advance in our career. In many cases, however, young professionals are left to wonder if a graduate degree would pay off.

This is a big decision that can potentially affect a person’s life for better or worse. There is a time commitment and a large fund involved. So how do you decide if it is the right move to go back to school? Here are some factors to consider:

The Value of the Degree

There was a time when a bachelor degree is sufficient for most jobs. Things have changed, however. In the current job market, many jobs require a higher degree just to get your foot in the door. A graduate degree, in this case, can up your chance of securing a job position.

Aside from getting the qualification, a graduate degree can also offer other benefits. It’s a great way to meet and network with other professionals in your field. Many graduate students return to school after being in the workforce for a while. So you will be in touch with others who are already working in your professional industry.

In certain professions, however, the degree is not valued as much as working experience. For examples, many people start out as a sales associate and move up to senior position without a higher degree. What they have is an extensive network and proven track record. In this case, having a higher degree may not be as much of a career boost.

The Cost

Let’s face it, a graduate degree is expensive. Here is a sobering fact: Our of 10 students graduating in 2013, 7 of them have student debt. If you haven’t paid off student loan from your undergraduate day, going for a graduate degree can be a far-fetched dream.

Therefore, consider all your financing options and other big budgets in your life before making the plunge. Is it a good time to stray away from your workforce? Will the student loan be another burden on top of your mortgage payment or car loan?

The Commitment

Once you decide that the degree will worth the cost, be sure to also consider the commitment that it will require.

When you were 17, attending college is a natural step. Studying is your second nature and you are less distracted with other things in life. A few years later, the decision to go back to school may not be the easiest. Many students only put in enough time and effort just to get by, but by doing so, they are not making the most of their degree.

Graduate courses are demanding, and it can be tough going to school part time. If you are going through a tough period, perhaps put the plan on hold. Otherwise, be sure to commit yourself to a challenging but rewarding experience ahead.