Post-Graduation: Applying For Grad School Or Going to Work?

Alex

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10 minutes

Post-Graduation: Applying For Grad School Or Going to Work?

Graduate school is an essential milestone in a student's life. It is the time when you start receiving professional education while entering adulthood. It is not an easy stage, but it is undoubtedly exciting. While some are thrilled with the idea of attending grad school, others face extreme confusion about receiving graduate education or working professionally. There are many ups and downs in life. Many factors influence our decisions, but we will help you put them all aside and make a decision with a crystal clear mind.

What is Grad School?

Before we jump to a conclusion, let's be clear about graduate school. If you want to pursue higher education, then a grad school is just the place for you. If you are aiming for a Ph.D. or a master's degree, you can't skip graduate school. Without it, you won't get your graduate degree.

Different Graduate Programs

A graduate school offers different graduate programs. So you don't have any restrictions. Different universities, however, offer different advanced degrees. Do your research about different grad schools and find the one you feel is best for your major and meet your personal goals. Once you have established that, you can start applying.

Graduate School Comes with Undergrad Requirements

Well, it is no surprise to anyone that every institute has its unique set of requirements. It can be a particular CGPA range, a set of grades, ECAs, and even your personality. One universal requirement that grad schools have is a bachelor's degree. They expect you to complete your bachelor's before entering for advanced degrees like a Ph.D. You will also have to meet the GRE requirements. Wondering what a GRE is? Well, it is short for Graduate Record Examination. It is an admission test that all applicants have to give to secure admission to grad school. Don't worry, it isn't too lengthy. It is usually a multiple-choice paper that is computer-based, so all the checking takes place through software.

The Difference in Graduate School and High School

Graduate students will tell you that there is a huge jump from high school to grad school. It is not just about an academic career. Everyone knows there is a lot of academic pressure on students when they enter a grad program, but other factors draw a fine line between the two academic stages of life.

Undergrad Life Brings Challenges

Odd jobs might have been a part of your life earlier, but don't forget you were saving most of the money. As you enter graduate school, you will already be a bachelor's degree holder who will have professional jobs. High school doesn't put much professional pressure on students. Juggling between your education and professional career path becomes very challenging.

The Coursework

Professional programs have very specific coursework. It is related to a certain doctoral program or master's degree. You know you can't get a Ph.D. in every subject by entering the same graduate programs. The course is more practical and takes a lot of research. You will realize there are very less bookish knowledge and rote learning in advanced degrees.

Completion Time

Undergrad courses usually take two to three years to complete, while school life takes ages to finish. It is because grad students have more workload and their courses are limited to a particular subject.

Skills You Learn as a Grad Student

It's God's truth that a professional program brings many skills with it. Higher education isn't about an academic career alone. If you think that, you are sadly mistaken. There are many other skills you develop from receiving higher education. Considering the COVID 19 outbreak and how the pandemic has affected the economy, many people have lost jobs due to incompetence. It is survival of the fittest, so develop as many skills as possible to bag the best job. Once you complete your graduate degree, it will all be worth it.

Analytical Skillset

An undergraduate degree might have taught you good analysis through some research or on case studies from books. But welcome to the real world now. Your current educational program is about to teach you how to analyze real-life problems taking place in the world. Independent thinking is encouraged in grad programs. You will have to show a response to massive amounts of information every day!

Communication

Like we always say, communication is key. It doesn't matter which stage of life you're at, if you don't communicate with clarity, you will fall behind. Even though graduate education is individual, you will have to work on team assignments. You will learn ways to facilitate others and ways to voice your opinion respectfully in a group.

Organization

No, the organization is not just about structuring a project or keeping things in place anymore. From planning events, promoting your project, maintaining records, managing research material, and preparing presentations, you will learn everything. You should go to grad school if you want to give yourself an edge compared to others.

Time Commitment

Due to the pandemic situation, most of us have a lot of spare time as there is a slowdown in every market. But that won't last forever. You have to get a graduate degree to learn to commit your time to things according to priority. It will help if you manage your classes, homework assignments, job, social life, social work, and personal space in a given time. You only get 24 hours a day. If you don't schedule stuff and value time commitment, you will struggle a lot professionally.

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. Adaptability. We should know how to mold ourselves according to given situations to be productive and make the most out of them.

Graduate School Can Change Your Life

Change isn't always about getting a Ph.D. or enrolling in MA programs. It is something that you can't see happening. It takes time, but Ph.D. or attending law school can change your life. Everything is restricted due to COVID, it might demotivate you, but keep striving harder to change your life for the better.

Creative Criticism is positive

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 will tell you how to better it. At times you might feel they are going overboard with advice and that your project scored fewer than expected grades. It is all a part of teaching you ways to handle criticism. It doesn't always come when you want it. It is unexpecting and strikes the hardest when you're trying to focus.

Re-evaluate Your Career Options

By this age, everyone establishes some goals for themselves. We don't mean goals you set on your part-time jobs to pay off your loan. We mean your ultimate job. 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 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?

Strong Networking

At 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. Who doesn't want an attractive salary and work experience?

Benefits You Can Get From Work

Many students prefer working rather than gaining further education. They have their reasons. Although completing education is primary, there are many benefits that you can get from working independently of your studies.

Expenses

People who start working professionally after bachelor's only start earning at an early stage in life. Part-time jobs hardly pay as much as full-time jobs. You will be able to manage and monitor your expenses on your own!

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.

Self-satisfaction

When you work, you see the results when your employer appreciates your work, you feel a positive change in your personality, feel respected by your co-workers, and like an important part of the firm. All this gives people great satisfaction and keeps them happy.

Personal Development

Working with different people and being a part of a team-based department, you will learn many skills. Not just on a professional level but also on a personal scale. Advancement is not a single person task. The job requires many hands to come together and complete the task on time. You will learn to cover for others while others help you. Personal development is a constant cycle at work.

Enhanced Earning Potential

Life can't function without making money. To have a good lifestyle, you need to keep improving your earning potential and earn a better amount to support yourself. As your family grows, so will your expenses. Working at an early stage in life will make you capable enough to get a higher position due to experience, which will enhance your earning potential.

Why Do Students Feel Confused About Grad School and Work?

Many factors influence a person's thought process and choices. Deciding on whether to work or attend school as a graduate student is a big decision. You can't let anything influence it. But some factors play a significant role in our choices.

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. If you work, you can make money to cover them up, but you can't study. If you study, you will eventually make money in life. Choices, choices, choices!

Interest

Many people are interested in education, while others are interested in work and practical skills. If people feel they aren't extraordinary and geniuses, they face confusion to study further or work instead.

Stress

If you are ready for professional stress, then you can work. Many don't have it in them to start with it just yet, so they prefer studies overwork. They wait to personally strengthen themselves till they are prepared to deal with stress on a professional scale.

The Bottom-line

Now that you have all the necessary information, we hope you make the right decision for your life. Take your time to conclude. Don't rush into anything. It is bout your future, and you have every right to consider all options available to you. We are here to support and guide you!

Originally published Jan 22, 2021, updated Feb 17, 2021

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