If you are approaching commencement or are a new alumni, you have heard this question before: So what are you going to do when you finish that bachelors degree? Don’t worry, you won’t get any pressure from us.
However, if you are trying to decide if you will go to grad school or look for a job, here are some considerations. I should add that this question gets asked, whether the economy is good or bad. Some people will have no choice about going to graduate school if they plan careers that require immediate additional training.
For others, the answer of whether to go to grad school or look for a job won’t be that clear cut.
Two things to know as you think about this decision:
- If you are not sure about a career direction, graduate school is not a place to hide out for two years. It is an expensive proposition and therefore requires a decision.
- Employers value work experience just as much as they might value graduate school experience. So think about where you could be two years down the road and balance real work experience vs. a graduate degree.
Grad school or Look for a Job? Think economy
When the job market is tight, grad school could be a good option while the economy recovers. Although they will gain new job skills in graduate school, college seniors should know that they will still have to work in entry level jobs after graduation. Whether the first job is right after a bachelors degree or right after a masters degree; there is no way to skip the entry-level, first job experience. That’s why building experience through internships is so important.
Grad school or Look for a Job? Think finances
If a college senior chooses to go to graduate school they must also think about adding to college loans or financing through fellowships, assistantships or scholarships. College seniors who cannot fund graduate school might research employers offering tuition reimbursement. By the way, higher education institutions might be a good place for entry level with higher education tuition waivers.
There is not much point in amassing more college debt after graduate school if future income will not be much higher than it would be with a bachelors degree. When deciding whether to go to graduate school or look for a job consider the lower cost of state colleges and universities versus private colleges. Although a graduate school will offer higher future earnings, there won’t be much difference right after graduate school without work experience.
Grad School or Look for a Job? Think career center for advice
College career center staff help seniors and new grads with exactly this kind of personal career planning all the time. If you are trying to decide whether to go to grad school or look for a job you should visit the career center on campus.
Career centers can help you evaluate options, explore training options for careers or even connect you with alumni who chose either option.