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Good Reasons to Consider Graduate School

  • The job you are seeking requires an advanced degree
  • You are interested in gaining more in-depth knowledge of a specific academic discipline
  • You want to change career direction from your undergraduate studies without getting another undergraduate degree

Pursuing additional education in Graduate or Professional School can give you real benefits like increased salary potential, access to jobs with higher-level responsibility, entry into certain professions that require advanced degrees, and the opportunity to develop a special area of expertise. Attending graduate school requires significant amounts of time, money and effort on your part. It is important that you are going for the right reasons and with clear career goals in mind.

Once you have determined that there are valid reasons for pursuing advanced education, you must decide the best time to attend.

Bad Reasons to Consider Graduate School

  • You really like being a student and don't want to leave
  • You have no idea what you want to do, so you'll stay in school
  • You don't want to start working yet

Going to Graduate School Immediately after College

Advantages:

  • You are in the habit of being a student, so the routine is familiar to you
  • Your study and test taking skills are fine-tuned and working at full potential
  • You may not have major family/home/work commitments which would be interrupted
  • Some career paths require advanced degrees even for entry level opportunities

Disadvantages:

  • You may be feeling burned out from completing undergraduate studies and could benefit from a break
  • You may have limited relevant experience to put your studies into perspective
  • Putting your earning potential on hold for 2 or more years and the costs associated with graduate school can quickly add up

Taking Some Time to Work Before Returning to School

Advantages:

  • You can gain relevant experience and clarify career goals
  • Earn money to help pay for school, or work for an employer who offers educational benefits
  • Spend time gaining experiences which enhance the competitiveness of your application - some programs actually require certain levels of work experience to be considered

Disadvantages:

  • You may feel "rusty" when not involved in activities like note taking, test preparation, and homework for a period of time - it may take a while to get back into the routine of being a student
  • You may have additional family/home/job responsibilities that were not present in your undergraduate days that create unique time management challenges

Consider your own situation, work style, personal circumstances, career goals and graduate school opportunities to make a decision that is right for you.

Contact

Questions? Contact Courtney Pelfrey at pelfrecm@jmu.edu

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