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Is it wise to go straight to graduate school after getting a bachelor's degree or should there be some wait time?

#graduate-school #college-advice #time-management

Thank you comment icon As an in-between between 18 and 40 years of age, I'll say it boils down to the career field, what incremental income you want to build up to, and also how much you want to allow fellow competitors to get ahead of you. A break is nice...I begged myself fir one, but I also know I need to stay focused. 2 years of school can fly. 10 years repeatedly telling yourself you will return can go just as fast. Hope this helps. King

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Richard’s Answer

Depends on the field. In business, for example, you would want experience first.

In psychology, masters or even PhD would be required for most jobs.

For natural sciences, most research positions would also require post graduate education
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Ken’s Answer

It is better fo get your bachelor's degree first and then go for a masters after getting some experience.


There are several reasons for doing this:

  • after some experience, you may have a clearer idea of which area in which you would like to concentrate in you masters, if you determine it is necessary ( it may not be, based upon your career view)
  • your employer may assist with the payment of advanced training if it is beneficial to the employer, you, and your future goals (within or independent of your employment). It may not be a masters, but it could be something that is even more helpful for your career journey.
  • employers generally do not look favorably on a candidate who has attained a masters without relevant work experience as they do not have real world experience on which to base their education.

You will get a clearer view after reading and following through on my answer to your other question.

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Yasemin’s Answer

Hi Emem! Great answers here! I do think it varies truly because I have taken some gap years and some of my friends have also either taken gap years to work and pay off some loans while some have directly enrolled into grad school. I know some graduate programs have a unique 3+2 curriculum where you complete your Bachelor's and Master's in 5 years so those programs don't really have any breaks and you complete both degrees a bit earlier at times. I think personally it depends on your needs, commitment, etc. Some grad schools if not all require an additional exam like the GRE, MCAT or LSAT for example so some students can take a year off, get more experience, work, save up money and study for these exams before taking the next steps in their education. That being said don't worry if you have to take gap years, now some schools even call them growth years which I agree. Sometimes being a nontraditional student and having more experience can actually make you better prepared for grad school and that higher level of thinking. I took some gap years off and at first no lie I did wish I could have begun medical school sooner but now that I look back I know it was right for me as I am more confident and prepared to begin a higher level of such education.

I hope this helps and I wish you the best!
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Gloria’s Answer

You have gotten some great information from others here. I would just add my personal experience. I did complete my Master's Degree after my Bachelor's degree. However, I did not complete my Bachelor's degree until I was in my mid-30's. That means that I had a lot of time to really understand what I wanted from my education and what I would need for success in my chosen field. Some programs in school give you generic knowledge and then you have to go on to a Master's program to get knowledge that you can immediately apply. I did both at once because college life can be difficult and it is easier to just stay in the routine of schoolwork. But remember, I already had a very good idea of what I needed to know for the career that I wanted. This included the fact that I already had experience in my chosen career. The Master's Degree actually made my life a lot easier. If you are going to college right out of high school, I would echo several others in waiting. if you are not working, get a job. It is important for you to know what your chosen career really needs in terms of education. A medical doctor or college professor have mandated degrees that are needed. Many other roles in the world today do not and a Bachelor's degree could be enough. In addition, once you get a good job, you can potentially get tuition reimbursement to help pay for any Master's Degree you may want to pursue at a later date.

Good luck with your higher education choices.
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Jenny’s Answer

Ask yourself why you want a Master's Degree. If the answer is "because I want to," or "because I should," then hold off. If the answer is "I want to go into a certain field/job that requires a Master's for an entry-level job in the industry ," then consider the Master's.

I have a friend who is a college professor and has her PhD. When we were finishing up undergrad, myself and another friend both mentioned that we were also planning on going to grad school. Our PhD friend asked us "why?" Both our answers were "because we want to." Our friend told us "I'm going to grad school because I need to in order to be a professor. Until you can come up with a solid reason to go to grad school, hold off." I took her advice and waited and eventually decided that I didn't want or need a Master's. I am thankful for that advice, and I can always get a Master's later in life if I ever need to. My other friend went to grad school anyways "just because" she wanted to. She now says that she regrets it. She stated "I delayed my career for 2 years and wasted a lot of money and I won't even ever need the degree."

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Paul’s Answer

Hi Emem:

I agree with my of my colleagues answers, but I have to tell you that I prescribe to the contingency theory, which is that it really all depends on your circumstances.

I got my bachelors and then started to attend my graduate program the following autumn. The reason for this was because of my finances and wishing to go into my graduate program and remembering all that I had learned, within my recent bachelors program.

In regards to my finances, at the time of attaining my bachelors, I had saved the tuition and living expenses to attend graduate school, so it really made sense for me to go and attain the higher degree, because this was my eventual goal. Not everyone has the same situation that I experienced, and may need to work or pay off pending student loans.

I feel that it did help me to enter the graduate program immediately after the bachelors, because I had retained much of what I learned at the bachelors, and this assisted me in attaining my graduate degree faster and more efficiently.

Some careers will can eventually require a higher level degree, like in Engineering or the Medical Sciences. So this is also something to keep in mind as you follow your current academic path.

There are benefits to both getting experience or immediately going into the graduate program. You will need to reflect and analyze your current academic and financial circumstances to determine which route will be best for you.

Paul

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Kim’s Answer

Emem,


Unless the Master's is absolutely required for the position you are seeking, you should definitely wait!


Having returned to school as an older student, I am amazed by how much more I am able to pick up from the lessons. This is based on having real life experience related to the subject matter. Additionally, no matter how much you might think you are "positive" about your career choice, it could be there are aspects of the job you are unaware of, and, once exposed to them, you may decide you made the wrong career choice. As an example, a lot of social work entails keeping records and meeting statistical performance measures, rather than actual working with clients. Sometimes it causes one to wonder if they are truly "helping people" after all.


I have seen way too many people who, upon getting their Bachelor's, go out and test the job market. They aren't able to find the perfect job with the ideal salary, so they go for their Master's. Now, when they go looking for work, they are overqualified for entry-level positions, and under-qualified for the positions they want. Why? Because they lack experience! I remember one client who received a master's in Hospital Administration. She was frustrated when she could not find a job. She said that this degree "entitled" her to a position as a hospital administrator, ignoring the fact that other applicants had both experience and education.


I highly recommend giving it at least two years before going back.


Best of luck!

Kim

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