Deciding whether to go to graduate school is a tough choice for many college graduates and soon-to-be graduates. On one hand, the draw of starting a career and earning an income is appealing. However, students who do choose to go on to graduate school can take advantage of many benefits. These benefits include the potential for more career opportunities, increased earning potential, making more connections, and working with some of the best people in your field.
Potential for Career Opportunities
Depending on your major and field of study, an advanced degree could be a necessity. For example, studying pre-med as an undergraduate won’t do you much good unless you plan to earn your MD degree. If your goal is to work as a college professor, you won’t be able to find a job unless you earn at least a master’s degree, and most universities require applicants to hold doctorate degrees.
However, other fields do have opportunities for those holding bachelor’s degrees, so in these industries, the decision to attend graduate school might take more consideration. Graduate school offers more academic knowledge in a specific field of study, making graduates experts in their industries. As a result, attending graduate school opens your career possibilities up to better opportunities, as you’ll come in with more knowledge than those holding lower degrees.
Increased Earning Potential
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, earning an advanced degree can also increase your earning potential. In 2016, the median weekly salary for a worker with a bachelor’s degree was $1,156, while the median weekly salary with a master’s degree was $1,380. The difference amounts to more than $11,000 per year. Going beyond a master’s degree further increases this potential, with professional degree-holders earning a median of $1,745 per week.
Making More Connections
In today’s job market, it’s all about who you know. Making connections with important people in your industry, including professors, teaching assistants, and fellow students, could make a difference when you’re applying for your dream job. You might also need a letter of recommendation from someone in the field if you plan to continue your education and pursue a doctorate, and a letter from an accomplished professor could help push you to the front of the pack.
Working With the Best in the Field
Attending graduate school means you’ll be surrounded by some of the smartest people in your field. This includes students in your classes as well as the professors and guest lecturers at the front of your classrooms. As you form relationships with these leaders, you’ll learn more about the field and how to pursue a fulfilling career. Graduate students also have access to the best resources and technological advancements during their studies. As a grad student, you’ll have people around you to look up to, helping keep you motivated and excited about continuing your education.
The decision to attend graduate school shouldn’t be taken lightly. You’ll invest a lot of money and at least two to three years in the program, but if it’s something you want to pursue, you can reap many benefits during the educational experience as well as throughout your career.