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Is it better to wait a few years before going into graduate school?

In planning my future, I'm not sure as to whether it is best to just give myself time in the professional world before jumping back into school or if it's okay to do that. I want to know what is the best move for this. #graduate # #school

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G. Mark’s Answer

First decide if you actually want or need to go to graduate school. There are some professions where an advanced degree will give you real benefits or an advantage. There are also some where it makes less difference and not really worth the extra time and money and loss of potential wages. So the first step would be to decide.

Second, if you actually do decide to go to graduate school, I would not wait. The reason is that after undergraduate studies, you are still in that mode of behavior and the material is fresh in your mind. Your work environment may be very different from school, so you'll actually end up in a different mindset. And that mindset could be very rewarding and enjoyable and actually divert your thoughts from what you'll end up studying.

Now bear in mind that there is no objective data to prove this in your particular case. There may very well be folks who would benefit from time off. Especially those who have not completely decided what they plan to do or if their future may be markedly different from their original career plans.

So evaluate those possibilities I've mentioned before deciding. It's worth the time to think through it.

Thank you comment icon Thank you for that advice! I've always thought the same regarding remaining in that "work mode" after undergraduate studies which may benefit me in the long run in comparison to going back later. Alexander
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Rachael’s Answer

Hi Alex,

Great question. I went into grad school immediately following my undergrad because it was part of an accelerated 3+1 program. I received my MSA (master of science in accounting), MBA (master of science in business administration) and MM (master of management). I personally wanted to achieve my credentials prior to entering the workforce in order to not have to go back. I think you should weigh your options and consider your time management, financial situation, and career outlook. Do you envision yourself being able to work full time and complete a graduate program simultaneously? Certain employers are willing to incur the cost of graduate school while you are employed with them. This is a great alternative to continuing on immediately after undergraduate school (which will extend the loan grace period since you will still be in school). Additionally certain colleges and universities offer graduate assistant positions for students in which you are employed by the college and they cover the cost of tuition for the graduate courses. Will you need a graduate degree in the course of your career? Do you know which type of degree would benefit you most?

During my courses, I found the most influential course discussions were those with students who were professionals in their fields. I think those students were able to apply what we were learning to their day to day work.

Best of luck.

Thank you comment icon Thank you for the advice! I'm definitely looking into a variety of programs and some include low-residency to see what can be achieved with my future studies. Gotta research before starting that! Alexander
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Kim’s Answer

Unless a graduate degree is absolutely required in your field, I would wait. Why?

  1. You could decide this field is not for you, once you get into it. That happens way too often!
  2. You will learn more in graduate school, and be able to actively participate in discussions more often, if you have some real-world experience first.
  3. You might get lucky and work for an employer who offers tuition assistance!

Given your other question about interning in London, I am really curious - what is your field?


Kim

Thank you comment icon Hi, thank you for the advice! I'm a Theatre Management student with a focus on marketing and creative strategy so that's where I'd be heading in my field. Alexander
Thank you comment icon That's interesting! I know absolutely nothing about your field, so I hesitate to say much. If you manage to build a fairly decent resume (or whatever it's called!) of theatre-related accomplishments by the time you complete your undergrad, AND IF a master's is pretty much required in your field, AND IF you feel like this is your calling, then I would reconsider my advice. Theatre takes a lot of commitment, and maturity. Many people posing this question are not at that level. Best of luck to you! Kim Igleheart
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Gloria’s Answer

HI Alexander,

I think that the right answer varies from person to person. For me, I actually went right from my bachelors degree into the masters degree. First, some background. It took me 17 years to get my bachelors degree.. In that time, I had to make school fit around work and changed my major five times. It was very difficult to find a way to work and go to school. Once I finally committed to finishing my bachelors degree, I found a routine that allowed me to work and go to school. It was like working two jobs. During the last few months of my first degree, I thought - I can't stop now. I have now found a routine of going to school, so I really need to get back to school for my masters if I am going to do it. I did need time off so I took it, but I started my masters degree six months after getting my bachelors degree. It allowed me to move into a more intensive program without having to figure out how to make school fit into my life.

Gloria
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Jennifer’s Answer

What type of graduate school would you like to attend? If you are looking at getting an MBA, I highly recommend a few years of work experience before you start your MBA classes. While I was taking me MBA classes many times the professors want me to use real life examples, this is difficult to do if you have never worked. I recommend a few years of work before attending graduate school to determine if the field is best for you. Also, many employers pay for graduate school if you agree to work for the employer while in graduate school and a few years post graduation.

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