This week I wanted to discuss a topic quite a few of us have been pondering on.”What’s next?” The question most people ask themselves after graduating school, reaching a goal, getting older, and just living. For me after graduating undergrad that’s when the questions started:
Find a good job? Continue school? Settle down? Marriage? kids? Start a business? Buy a house? Travel?
Overwhelming af trying to figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life LOL
This May will mark 3 years since I’ve graduated from Sac State. I told myself I was NEVER going back to school lol I walked the stage, had my grad party celebration and made my parents proud. I was done!
But… for the past two years I’ve been flirting with the idea of going to graduate school.
Obtaining a Master’s degree would help advance my career and jump start my dream of one day starting my own Public Relations practice. My goal is to work as a Public Relations Specialist for a major fashion house or head my own private practice. While interning and working my way up in industry is the route most people advise I take but I’ve also considered going back to school to sharpen my skills.
My biggest concern is finances because aint nobody got time for MORE student loans.
I’ve toured some college campuses and I’ve been to open houses but I’m still very hesitant. Recently while visiting the University of San Francisco I learned about the graduate certificate program. Basically a shorter program, less required classes, and less expensive. This program seems perfect for students who are looking to build skills in specific areas. I decided to do more research on certificate programs as well as graduate degree programs.
My former classmates and colleagues all advised that I make a list of the pros and cons of going to graduate school. So since I know I’m not the only person wrestling to make this decision I decided to share my list.
Pros and Cons of Going to Graduate School
Pros of Grad School:
- More focus on your area of interest
- An advanced degree separates you from job applicants with a Bachelor’s degree
- The opportunity to work with top professionals in your field
- Possibility to make more money
- Career Advancement
- You want to change your career
- Cool Research Projects
- Investing in my future
- Getting school out of the way while I’m young
Cons of Grad School:
- Expensive and could add to debt burden
- Takes several years to complete
- Hard work and very demanding
- There’s no guarantee that it will advance your career
- May have to write a thesis or dissertation
- Working while going to grad school can consume your time (no social life)
- You’ll lose years of work experience and income that you would get through a job
Graduate Certificate vs. Graduate Degree
- Specific certification for desired career
- Only takes about a year to complete
- Less expensive than a Master’s degree
- Credits will carry over if I decide to go back for full Master’s degree
- 9-12 units for completion instead of 30 units
- Gain more skill training in my field
- Limits what you learn and what you can do once you finish you’re certification
- Less well rounded courses than graduate degree
- Training will be above the Bachelor’s level but not quite a Master’s degree
- Jobs may or may not acknowledge certification compared to degree
- Courses cover a wide variety of topics / broader understanding of the world around you
- Higher education provides more options for various careers and various titles
- Higher degrees can provide higher earning potential
- Graduate degree can open doors for private practices
- Experiencing a different level of college life on a new campus
- More time spent in school
- More money spent toward school
- Overall more time and money are dedicated to graduate programs compared to certificate programs
- No guarantee I will find a better paying job
- Without scholarships more financial aid, more student loans, more debt
I hope this list helped you guys gain a little more prospective on graduate school. I’ve been challenging myself in all areas of life and I like to share my thoughts. Knowing when to go for it or when to wait is a challenge sometimes.
Thanks for reading!
Happy Women’s History Month!