Should You Go To Grad School To Boost Your Career?

By Elana Goodwin on February 27, 2016

Deciding whether you want to go to grad school or not is a huge decision — there are a lot of factors to consider as it’s a big commitment in terms of money, time and effort.

Depending on your career aspirations, going to grad school may be imperative or superfluous, so it’s important to weigh the positives and negatives of grad school and fully understand the effect it can have on your career.

Here’s some advice and information that may be good to know if you’re asking yourself, “Should I go to grad school to boost my career?”

Photo Credit: stemjobs.com

Firstly, you should never plan to go to grad school “just because.”

If you find yourself in your senior year and are not really sure what you want to do career-wise and your post-graduation prospects aren’t super promising, don’t just start taking the GRE, GMAT, MCAT, or whatever other tests for grad school are out there, simply because you don’t know what to do next in your life. That’s a very expensive method of buying yourself some time to understand what you want when you could just talk to an adviser during undergrad.

Look at what your interests are, what sort of careers sound appealing to you, and what your goals are, and consider whether going to grad school is the right move and whether it’ll help you find a job or is necessary for a career down the line.

Secondly, you should want to go to grad school to give yourself an edge — but that shouldn’t be the only reason you want to get a graduate degree. For some fields, going to grad school is advantageous as it’ll give you an edge and make you more marketable when you’re looking for jobs. In grad school, you’ll have the opportunity to do research, teach, work on projects, have access to resources, and network with peers and professors.

By pursuing a graduate degree, you can also gain advanced skills and knowledge of fields outside your area of study, or build on your undergraduate degree by becoming more educated in that same field. When you’ve got a graduate degree, you stand out from your fellow job-seeking peers, and in today’s job market, it may be just the thing that gets you noticed and gets you a position.

However, it’s important to understand that for some fields, going to grad school may actually over-qualify you for the job you want. There are some fields where you absolutely must go to grad school — law, medicine, teaching at a post-secondary level, etc. — but others may not require it, nor will they reward your continued education with a higher salary.

Because going to grad school may make you overqualified for some positions, think carefully about your goals and whether going to grad school will boost your intended career aspirations. If not, you may want to reconsider grad school unless you’re offered a free ride so you aren’t racking up more debt or want the ability to research and further educate yourself.

For the most part, going to grad school can improve your job prospects and give your career a boost. While there may not be a guarantee that your graduate degree will net you a higher salary right off the bat, the education you receive from grad school can and will make you a better and more capable employee — which will give you more opportunities to advance in your field.

You’ll be working alongside great people which will inspire you to be your best and work hard. Grad school gives you the opportunity not only to build on your undergrad knowledge, but potentially contribute to your field of study and the world’s knowledge. If you have a great idea, that can also lead to academic and international recognition, and will help you network and be a real coup to have on your resume when you’re applying to jobs.

Additionally, more fields are requiring graduate degrees, such as social work and physical therapy. Even if you think you do want to go to grad school, don’t feel obligated to begin your graduate studies right after finishing your undergraduate schooling. Some companies will actually pay or pitch in for their employees’ graduate degrees or other certifications so you may be better off waiting a bit.

Just remember — grad school isn’t for everyone and is something you should carefully consider before committing to. So before you start asking yourself “Should I go to grad school to boost my career?,” figure out what your career aspirations are and how grad school aligns with those goals.

By Elana Goodwin

Uloop Writer
I am currently serving as the Director/Managing Editor for Uloop News. I've been part of the Uloop family since 2013 and in my current role, I recruit writers, edit articles, manage interns, and lead our National Team, among other duties. When I'm not writing or editing, I love being outside, reading, and photography! I have a Bachelor's degree in English with a double-minor in Sociology and Criminology & Criminal Justice from The Ohio State University. If you have questions or just want to chat, don't hesitate to reach out! Email me at elana@uloop.com.

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