• Lisa Ericson

The Benefits and Costs of Attending Graduate School

Guest post by Emily Rosen

After attending undergraduate school, many people are excited to explore the wonders of what the real world has to offer. Will it include working a job from nine to five, while sitting in a cubicle, staring at the computer? Or will it include creating a start-up company that is looking for an investor to take their project to the next level? Whatever your path is, I suggest thinking about graduate school as an option. Like with anything else in the world, there are benefits and costs to such a transaction. You need to decide if this decision will further your career or pull you into deeper financial debt in the long run.

Students strive to stand out amongst all of the other applicants applying to the same jobs as them. People believe that attending higher education is one way to make themselves more appealing to employers. While this could be true, you have to take a step back and ask yourself whether it is worth the lack of a salary for a couple of years, as well as the burden of the cost of another education. It is known that graduate degrees often come with high financial rewards when these skills are utilized in the workforce. However, there are multiple questions you need to ask yourself before undergoing higher education. You must decide if you truly need another degree. Then research various options, and compare the costs. After this, you need to put this all in perspective and see if this decision will truly increase your earning potential when you enter the job market.

If you have thoroughly evaluated each of these questions and have decided that graduate school fits into your future, you will accrue many benefits from this experience. After your undergraduate years in school, you may find your major unfulfilling. Earning an advanced degree could be the perfect opportunity for you to dive into a subject that you are truly passionate about. Not only that but if you are working on research, there is a high chance that your thesis could be published, gaining your recognition in your respective field. The opportunity to take part in advanced and complicated research projects will be part of the graduate school experience, something that undergraduate educations do not often provide. With that being said, there is a wealth of knowledge that will be passed down to you from one renowned professor to the next. These are all compelling reasons to further your education; however, many people are curious about how it will affect them financially. This could open doors for future promotions in your career, as well as increasing your salary in general, though tuition costs must be factored in as well to properly evaluate.

Graduate school could be a smart decision for many people, but one must weigh the costs out before making such a huge decision. As surprising as this sounds, some people apply to graduate school to avoid entering the workforce. While this is a factor, higher education happens to be extremely competitive, as well. Not only that, but you need to decide if you are ready to give up years of your life to focus on your future career. This could potentially put a strain on relationships and affect your wellbeing, as this is a stressful and emotional process. While I discussed the possibility of a higher salary, this is not guaranteed. Not only graduate school is expensive, but the return on investment can be slow once you receive your first job. Making a pros and cons list can be helpful in deciding whether graduate school fits well into your life and the desired field of work.

With that being said, I am sure for most of the individuals reading this, higher education is not on the very top of your list of priorities right now. With the Coronavirus pandemic affecting the world, everyone wants to stay safe and healthy. This virus made me wonder how it will affect the graduate school in the future. How will students be able to physically work on their research projects or travel to different countries to explore their career of interest? Education is likely to take a hit due to this pandemic; however, we are all in this together. Universities around the globe will have to find alternative solutions to keep their professional students engaged. While I think this is possible, I question whether people will be more reluctant to attend graduate school. With the current economic conditions in the United States of America, paying for higher education may not be of concern right now.


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