3 answers

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

Asked Houston, Texas

3 answers

Kim’s Answer

Updated San Antonio, Texas


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!


Ken’s Answer

Updated Cleveland, Ohio

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.

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."