Post-Graduation: Applying For Grad School or Going to Work

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Updated Oct 06, 2021
Post-Graduation: Applying For Grad School or Going to Work

It is a no-brainer that graduate school can be an essential milestone in a student's life. A lot of people make this choice with the hope of expanding their knowledge and get the edge in the professional market after graduation with the top diploma. On the other side of the scale is a successful career that you can start right now. So, what choice should you make when you're at crossroads? We will help you put all your worries and doubts aside and make a decision with a crystal clear mind.

How You Can Benefit From Going to Grad School

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Higher education isn't about an academic career alone. It prepares you for real-life challenges and provides you with an impeccable skill set. To confirm this fact, look at the current situation when because of the coronavirus outbreak, many people have lost their jobs due to incompetence. The interesting fact is that a huge number of them decided to continue their education, pursue a Master's degree or even earn a Ph.D. Advanced degrees can help you in the long-term, so don't miss the opportunity to appreciate their benefits.

You Bump Up Your Salary Potential

Though you have to spend some years studying before you get the opportunity to enter the real job market, you'll not waste this time in vain. It is well-known that individuals with graduate school degrees are paid more money than their peers without advanced degrees. 

You Develop Skills That are Essential in the 21st Century

To stand out among thousands of smart, creative, and ambitious people, you should go the extra mile, and graduate programs will surely show you the direction.

Analytical Skills

An undergraduate degree might have taught you good analysis through some research or on case studies. You surely have covered a lot of ground reading textbooks, professional magazines, field-related databases, etc. But welcome to the real world now. Grad programs are about to teach you how to analyze real-life problems taking place in the world. It is because you'll be working on real research, looking for the information around you. It goes about laboratory experiments, interviews, and other activities. You'll deal with tasks that don't have a correct answer, and it is the thing that makes your brain work.

Adaptability

You don't always get what you want. You might get a different topic you didn't want to work on, you might not like how your team is working, and you might not like your instructor even! But that is what further education teaches us. We should know how to mold ourselves according to given situations to be productive and make the most out of them.

Creative Criticism 

There is cut-throat competition out there. A job market is a brutal place for a new graduate student. That is why your teachers focus on emotionally strengthening you. They provide you with constant criticism on your homework assignments, reports, and projects. They show you the areas of development, and, moreover, they tell you how exactly you can fill your gaps. It will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of your strengths and weaknesses by the time when you finish grad school. 

Strong Networking

At a time point in life, students from different backgrounds and jobs will be studying with you. The highest experts will teach you in the field. There are countless opportunities for networking right in front of your eyes! These friendship-turned-professional relationships can help you find better jobs and growth opportunities. 

You Re-evaluate Your Career Options

By this age, everyone establishes some career goals for themselves. We don't mean goals you set on your part-time jobs to pay off your loan. We mean the field you want to tap professionally. You learn so much during these few years of grad school that many students consider a change in career path. 

You will learn a lot about the specific field you're mastering and can see a clearer picture of your future now. For example, the business school teaches you the know-how of organizational structure and the market to make sure you know what you're stepping into after getting a doctoral degree. You can pick on different parts of the field you are interested in or even change your career path. Better to do it now than to regret it later, right?

You Contribute to the World's Knowledge

Starting a professional career in the corporate world, you have to work a lot to make some kind of contribution. After undergraduate study, young people understand existing knowledge in their fields, and they work based on it. Meanwhile, graduate school provides you with an opportunity to contribute, to create new information, innovative solutions. So, you should go to grad school if you dream to change the world. 

Benefits You Can Get From Work

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Many students prefer working rather than gaining further education. They have their reasons. Although completing graduate education has its advantages, there are many reasons not to pursue Ph.D. along with benefits that you can get if you start working as soon as possible.

Earning potential

People who start working professionally after pursuing a bachelor's degree only start earning at an early stage in life. Yes, you can find a part-time job and manage to maintain it along with your studies. But you'll never get a higher salary than your peers at full-time jobs. Besides, you won't have that many expenses like tuition fees, textbooks, etc.

Work Experience 

Have you ever heard that an early bird catches the worm? Well, this phrase is true. It isn't always about receiving a stipend. It goes way deeper than that. You need work experience for professional growth. The earlier you start, the better know how you have of the firm and more chances for a promotion.

Independence 

Your education might become an opportunity cost if you choose work, but you will get your own place, your own lifestyle. You can do whatever you want! Independence is a great feeling as long as you're a responsible person.

Unique Skills

Starting your professional career outside Academia, you gain unique skills that are vital in real life. The specific set depends on your profession, but generally, young people learn to interact with customers, negotiate business ideas, to work in a team where all members have their personal ambitions along with a common goal. Continuing your studies, you still a child who is acting at the behest of the professor while in the working life, you need to overcome real challenges. 

List of Reasons Why You May Feel Confused About Grad School and Work

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Sometimes it is really not that easy to decide what you want from life. What are your goals and ambitions? Are you ready to face some challenges, and what can make you give up? There are 3 important aspects that don't let most students decide at once.

Financial Condition

Your financial stance plays a vital role in your studies. The tuition fee for further education on a graduate level is very high. Although you can take student loans, there are many other expenses to take care of as well. Young people have to support their families, spend time with friends, travel to discover the world, and so on. If you work, you can become financially independent, but it means you should sacrifice your studies. Of course, your education will make you wealthy, but are you really ready to wait so long? However, the COVID-19 pandemic affects the job market, so that you can't plan your finances right now. It is surely a very confusing situation.

Your Circle of Interests and Outside Influence

It is impossible to say that all young people have the same interests and aspirations. Some of them are looking forward to starting their professional careers while others are really interested in education. It is impossible to ignore the fact that you may not understand your real desires because of the surrounding environment. When you're from an academic family and all your friends are degree holders, you should be bold enough to tell your parents that you're going to work at Mcdonald's. And vice versa, your parents with the entrepreneurial streak won't understand it if you sign up for the years of poring over textbooks in Academia. 

Stress 

Depending on your personal traits and life background, you may have a different level of stress-resistance. So, making this essential choice, you have to understand what your destiny is: to face the challenge or to choose the easiest path. And, what is the most important, you need to find out which is which. 

Check-List to Decide on Your Perfect Match

Thinking over the final choice in favor of the degree program or professional career, you need to make it be worth it. There are some tips that will help you to build plans for the future with fewer doubts.

  • Understand your motivation: Think about your future in the next 2, 5, 10 years. Are you a successful entrepreneur, prospective manager, or a Ph.D.? Consider both options and pay attention to your feelings and emotions at this moment.
  • Check available options. Look for good programs and check job opportunities at such sites like Glassdoor to make a list of them. You need to understand what is the shortest way to your goals.
  • Dispel your doubts. If you're afraid that Ph.D. is too expensive, do your research and find out whether it is possible to apply for a scholarship. And vice versa, if you're about to start the career but have some doubts, look for internships, assistant positions, etc.
  • Discuss it with people that you trust. Of course, the final choice is up to you, but sometimes we need the view from the outside to make sure the decision is right or wrong.
  • Take the pause. It is not necessary to define your future right now. When you can't come up with the final choice, it means you're not ready for both of them. The pause will show you additional options.
  • Develop plan B. People are usually afraid to make decisions when they don't have a second plan to rely on. You should know that if somebody goes wrong, you can replay it.

I'm a medical doctor and brand manager. The process of getting into Med school and studying at it made me learn and apply many strategies to keep my productivity high while spending less time and effort. As a working student, I had to figure out how to study smarter, not harder. During this period, my interest in neurology and psychiatry, as well as my aspiration to help others, intensified. At Studybay, I use my knowledge, skills, and experience to develop helpful solutions for students and make their study paths more productive and fun.