The other day I shared the benefits of applying to graduate school. After the post went live I got a few texts and emails on the subject. As you can imagine, not all of my friends were hot on the idea of going for more schooling. Graduate school isn’t the best idea for everyone. After four years of undergraduate, most people just want to work and make some money, or simply get out of school.
Let’s look at when applying to graduate school isn’t the greatest idea.
When’s applying to graduate school not such a hot idea? How can you go wrong with more education?
Using grad school as life avoidance.
If you don’t want to start working just yet, you shouldn’t just stick around in school. There are other options for what to do after college. You don’t have to be in school to not be working. I’ve seen many friends stay in school just because they didn’t want to start working in the real world yet. I just feel that there are better ways to avoid life. You don’t need to be paying for school.
Which leads into my next point…
When you have tons of student loan debt.
Your student debt can hold you back for a long time. If your finishing your undergraduate with over 20 grand in debt, do you really need to pick up more debt? Do you want to be adding to student loans?
All of this debt can hold you back when you want to buy a home or move on with your life as you go through your 20s. Your student loans can force you to work a job that you don’t like and they’ll definitely delay you from making big purchases.
While you can argue that this money is an investment, you seriously need to consider other options for paying for your graduate school, such as:
- Finding an employer to pay for your courses.
- Taking courses in the evening.
- Saving up before you go to school.
There’s no need to rush things and be stuck with thousands of dollars of student debt in your mid-20s.
If you didn’t have much interest in your undergraduate studies.
The main purpose of graduate school is to continue on with your research. If you didn’t enjoy your studies during your four years of undergrad, what makes you think that you’re going to become suddenly more interested? More education might just lead to more stress for you.
If you have a job offer.
If you’re being offered a job right out of school, it usually makes sense to give it a shot. You can gain some experience in the field, build connections, and make money. You also increase your odds of finding an employer that’s willing to invest in you and possibly send you for your graduate degree in the future.
Graduate school can help take you to the next level. It can also hold you back if you’re not prepared and you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into. This is why it pays to do a little research ahead of time to see if more education is right for you.
“The hardest thing to learn in life is which bridge to cross and which to burn.” — David Russell
5 thoughts on “When’s Grad School Not Such a Hot Idea?”
Man oh man, are you ever right with the first one. I was tempted to do the same myself and avoid the inevitable. For some, additional schooling helps them mature and improves their job prospects, but for others, it sets them back big time.
I’m already working full-time and have been for a few years, while continuing my undergrad… I am contemplating grad school but not because I actually care about what I’m studying, more so to keep myself learning something and I’m afraid that once I’m done of school+work… I’ll just have work, then what? Life avoidance at its finest.
It probably also depends on what you’re going to study in grad school. If you’re going to medical school, law school, or business school then grad school will probably make financial sense. If you’re getting a degree in something not as marketable, then grad school may make a lot less sense.
There is such a thing as being over qualified. I know it sounds rediculous but it is a reality. I know of a person that has trouble finding a government job because of there phd status. Lesson : Don’t be a over achiever.
You’re singing my song, man! I think I fit all those criteria – I went all the way, got my MPA with no plan of attack… Do I use it? Nope. Could I be doing what I’m doing without it? Absolutely. Does it make some really great wall art? You betcha.