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It is worth it to pursue a master's degree?

I'm currently a senior in high school and I am currently about to go to college. I want to know what I can do after my undergraduate degree. college degree masters-degree

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John’s Answer

Andy determining whether or not you should pursue a master’s degree can be a tough decision. It’s a time-consuming endeavor that requires a serious financial commitment; naturally, you'll want to be certain that the benefits you’ll gain out of it are worth it. Master’s degrees are not cheap. Although prices vary between institutions, and you can get governmental or private funding, it’s important to take your current financial situation into account before committing to a program. On the plus side, once you complete the course, you’ll get a pretty good return on your investment.

Employers recognise the value of a master’s degree – some even make it a prerequisite, while in industries such as healthcare and education, they’re mandatory. But even in general terms, a master’s can set you apart from the crowd. It does make you stand out a little more, pretty much everyone now has a degree, but not many have a master’s. Part of this appeal to employers lies in the very specific and detailed knowledge you gain in a certain field or subject. If you’re applying for a job in a relevant or related area, it will work hugely in your favour. Indeed, it shows that you’re dedicated to enhancing your industry expertise and credibility, which helps you become all the more competitive in your chosen field. Being a subject matter expert can also make you very valuable in a consulting capacity.

One of the greatest benefits of a master’s degree is its flexible structure. This means it can be done part time, through distance learning or via a combination of several methods – perfect for people who have other commitments. It encourages lifelong learning among people who are at different stages in their life. Many master’s students build on their existing skills and knowledge and find that they develop new and highly useful ones such as researching, writing and analysing. You also become a better problem solver and can more easily tackle complex projects. During your master’s degree, you’ll have the opportunity to learn some pretty interesting stuff. The structure of a master’s is intended to help you teach yourself rather than simply receiving information; this is another invaluable skill that can be applied almost anywhere. Every respectable MA course is a successful blend of academic excellence and hands-on experience, combining theoretical coursework, case studies, group work and in-company placements.

Hope this information is helpful Andy

Thank You Keith. Helping one another. There’s no time like the present, and no present like the time. John Frick

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Lauren’s Answer

Hi Andy,
Great Question. Overall, I think pursuing a master's degree ultimately depends on the career path you decide to take and the profession/company you work in. I completed my master's degree right after completing my bachelor's degree, mainly because that was the best option for me career wise. Many professionals at the time advised me that a lot of companies would rather you gain experience in your career first before pursuing a degree at the graduate level. Often times a graduate degree will help you better differentiate yourself in the position you're in and allow for you to leverage various opportunities later in your career. I think it's definitely helpful to have, but at the end of the day it's not something you necessarily need when you're first starting out.
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Melisa’s Answer

Hi Andy,

Great question. First off, congratulations in reaching your Senior Year (during an especially challenge time in our world) and getting ready to head to college!

I would say, this depends on what career or job you'd like to have. For many open job positions, you can typically find out what the education and experience requirements are.

I have a career I love and I finished my B.A. Degree in Organizational Management, while working full-time. I often think about going back for graduate school myself because lifelong learning is always a great thing to take advantage of. However, I don't feel a Master's degree is necessary for every job or situation. You have to decide this for yourself.

I look forward to seeing what advice others offer you as well.

Best wishes to you in your college and educational goals!

college degree masters-degree

Melisa recommends the following next steps:

Do some research into careers, jobs and companies that interest you so you can find out what the requirements are.
Talk with a guidance counselor at your college and see what they recommend.
Celebrate your senior year and graduation!
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Gabby’s Answer

Hi Andy,

I agree with Melisa's comments regarding celebrating your success thus far! This is an exciting time for you!

A few additional points to consider:
1. Only you can decide what is best for you. You're just starting college, which means you have at least 4 years to decide. Depending on what you are majoring in and what your long term goals are, you have plenty of time to think through this. Graduate school isn't going anywhere; it will be there when, and if you decide to pursue it.

2. All forms and types of education are helpful whether or not it is in a formal school setting. If you decide not to pursue a master's degree, reading books about a particular industry, attending certificate programs, conferences and workshops are all additional ways to further your education in a non-formal setting.

3. I went straight from high school to undergrad to graduate school. It was great, but I was exhausted by the time I finished. That being said, I was extremely proud of myself for having completed my education by the time I was 24. There are many other questions to consider such as cost of a graduate program, location, the type of work you're interested in, and you may change your mind, which is completely fine as well! Just know you have options.

4. While a master's degree isn't for everyone, I can say from personal experience it has been a differentiator for my professional career. Any type of education is going to help set you apart from others and especially when seeking a professional position outside of college. As a recruiter, I am always looking for candidates that have set themselves apart (working while going to school, volunteering, further education, etc).

Good luck and have fun in college!

Gabby recommends the following next steps:

Talk to mentors, parents, friends, others about their experiences
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Keith’s Answer

The competitive landscape of employment continues to change. I will never say degrees are not important, because they absolutely are when in a collective pool of talent. Frankly, a Bachelor's Degree can be seen as the bare minimum qualification for a job - irrespective of the major/minor. The simple fact you completed a four-year degree program should be enough to get you into the door for an entry-level opportunity.

Thereafter, the debate will rage as to whether an MBA is worth it. Speaking from my own personal experience, yes; albeit years after I completed my BS. I was always a good student throughout all levels of education, so it wasn't a fear of scholastic achievement that kept me on the sidelines to get my was pure selfishness on my part. I didn't want to do the work. I didn't want to give the effort. At that time in my life, I was doing well enough that my expectations for my life matched my current opportunities. However, that changed for me and the turning point is different for everyone.

My turning point came when I could realistically see with myself performing in opportunities that I knew required higher level education. Ultimately, I was at a place in my life where I knew competition at those higher levels was only going to get tougher, so higher education aimed to differentiate me. Take that, in addition to my years of work, I felt prepared for the next challenge. So, the answer is yes, but there are pathways that forgo a formal MBA, but in my experience those come with many more years of relevant experience comparatively speaking.
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Rukhsana’s Answer

This all depends on what you will be doing after you get your Bachelor's Degree. If you get a job right after you graduate then you might want to see if your company offers Tuition Assistance because you might be able to get the Masters degree paid for thru them. If your company doesn't offer the TA, then you might want to check and see if getting the Master's degree will benefit you in getting a raise or promotion because if doesn't then you can take your time and get it at a later day instead of rushing right after your Bachelors. But if money and time are not a concern then go for it right after your Bachelors degree.
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Paul’s Answer

Hi Andy:
For me, pursuing a master's degree was worth it, because my future career needed a masters degree in order to hired within its ranks. This will be something which I believe you will need to answer as well, which is: "Will my future career career require me to have an upper level degree?"
Another issue might come up regarding advancement, because from what I observed the individuals who had the upper level degrees were the ones who were always advanced before others in their fields. So, it can definitely be helpful, if your future employment requires one, or if you wish to advance within your field.

Paul recommends the following next steps:

Review your future career options and determine if an upper level degree will be required for employment
Review the possibilities for advancement that an upper level degree will provide
Consult with a career counselor to determine options within your chosen career
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Jeremy’s Answer

Hi Andy,

It's definitely possible that a master's degree could be preferred or almost required in some fields. However, it is completely field/career dependent.

On the one hand, I myself have 2 master's degrees that I pursued right after undergraduate. I did this for a couple of reasons:

1) My undergrad was in the humanities (philosophy) and I found that I wanted to pivot to a business career. To do that, I needed different professional credentials.
2) I found a dual degree Master's program that would allow me to differentiate myself in a hiring pool. I knew I wanted to work in tech and I knew I wanted to do it from a business angle. So a dual degree MBA/MS Information Systems program would allow me to differentiate myself even though I had no work experience.

On the other hand, I have multiple friends who have very successful careers without a graduate degree. A good number of these people are in fields such as software development where hands-on time in a career is immensely more valuable than additional classroom instruction.

So really, it's not the same answer for everyone. As a high school senior, I think you owe it to yourself it focus on your upcoming undergraduate degree than what's going to come after it. It will probably be made fairly clear to you by your Junior/Senior year whether or not a master's program would be right and beneficial for you.
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Layal’s Answer

It's worth pursuing a masters degrees for certain fields. For example - you can do an engineering degree and complement it with masters in business administration - where you cover the technical experience through studying to be an engineer and the skills required to do business -through having an MBA. Having said that - my advice is go for your bachelor degree and then get some work experience say for 1 to 2 years and then decide if you want to go for Masters and what is the specialisation that you want to go for.
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Jake’s Answer

Hi Andy,

As a current sophomore in college, I have had discussions with alumni, panelists at events, and recruiters at career fairs about the importance and usefulness a master's degree would provide to my career. All answers were prefaced with the fact that it is helpful to have, but it is not essential for s. It also may depend on what career you are pursuing. For example, if you are pursuing a finance job, it may be just as helpful, or maybe even more helpful, to become a CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) rather than get your master's degree. I think it would be best to reach out to recruiters, mentors, or alumni through LinkedIn or any other type of outreach and networking you have available to you and inquire about your specific goals, whether that be getting your master's degree straight out of college or any certifications first. You could also research any job postings for the careers you are interested in and see what the job requirements are listed.

Good luck!
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Des-Ree’s Answer

Hi Andy,
This depends on the career you are trying to peruse after you receive your Bachelor's Degree. Majority of the professional careen provide there hires Tuition Assistance and Training courses to gain a career license. I defiantly believe that a Master's degree great to obtain especially with the competitive market that is out there. All in all this is something you will only have to think about once you chose your career path.