Is Graduate School The Right Fit for You Immediately After Graduation?

Ana-Marcela Lopez / Colleges of Distinction »

There are so many reasons why a master’s degree is a good move for your career. Advanced degrees are a great way to expand your skill set, increase your earning potential, and ensure job security. But should you dive right into a graduate program after you complete your undergraduate degree? Or should you take a year or two off? The answer to this is as nuanced and complex as you are. 

Deciding the right path for you can be daunting, especially with so much information and opinions surrounding the choice. That’s why we’re here to help you make sense of it all so you can make the best decision for yourself. Here are some questions to ask yourself: 

What do you want to do? 

Do your career goals align to academia or to a more real-world job? What is required of you to achieve the job of your dreams? Specifically for professional programs, are there experiential requirements before directly applying? We are huge advocates for life-long learning, but there’s little sense in getting an advanced degree if it is not required for your dream job. If a master’s degree is not essential, then consider the sagacity of pursuing one. You would be wiser to invest that time and energy on your career rather than a degree program. However, if you can’t get a foot in the door without a master’s degree, then of course, you must pursue that degree. 

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What have you heard? 

What are your trusted confidantes telling you? Did you ask a career counselor? What about career services? Ultimately, you know yourself and your goals best, but leaning on those you trust is never a bad idea. They can help you make an informed and objective decision. And don’t be afraid to talk to the career services office! With their experience and expertise they will be able to help guide you to the best decision for you. And once you’ve decided what to do, they can help you with creating a detailed application plan, so you meet all the requirements. 

Can you handle graduate school? 

Even if you aced every class in your undergraduate career, grad school will still be challenging. It’s essential to understand the differences in academic rigor and time commitments, and most importantly, if you can handle them. Make sure you discuss your aptitude for graduate level coursework with your advisor or even a trusted professor! They have first hand knowledge of your abilities and will be able to shed some light on how prepared you are. 

What’s out there for you? 

Are there programs that could support a work, school, and life balance? Yes. In fact, at Abound: Grad, it’s a requirement for our schools to be flexible. All of our schools excel in 4 distinct areas: Accessibility, Affordability, Acceleration, and Advancement. These grad programs are designed with the busy professional in mind, which means you can master balance life, work, and school. Whether you decide to enroll part-time or do an online course, there are so many ways to earn your degree flexibly. 

Can you afford it? 

What does your financial situation look like? Are there grants/scholarships for these programs? Navigating the financial aid process at the graduate level can be an even trickier process than undergraduate, but there are still plenty of options to help you pay for it. Another hallmark of Abound: Grad schools is affordability. You can trust that these schools deliver an amazing education at an affordable rate, and often have designated scholarships for graduate students. 

Is it worth it? 

What’s the return on investment of going to a program? Graduate programs can be expensive, so you want to make sure the investment will pay off in the long run. To reiterate an earlier point, if a master’s degree is required for the job you want, then it is pretty obvious that the investment will pay off once you land said job. Studies show that those who hold advanced degrees consistently earn more than those without. 

Going to grad school right after graduation can be a great way to achieve your goals sooner. It’s important that you consider all that’s expected of you before you enroll. Whether you decide to go now or later, Abound: Grad is here to help every step of the way. From how to get a letter of recommendation to writing a personal statement, our advice section is full of expert insight.