As students near the mid-to-last years of their undergraduate career, many consider if they should go to grad school. For some degrees, there’s no questions asked; students have to complete their graduate studies, because their undergraduate degree isn’t enough certification (i.e. nursing school, med school, psychology degrees, etc.)
Other degrees don’t necessarily need it, but students could profit from it (i.e. higher salaries, better marketability for career). In some degrees, an undergraduate degree is the minimum requirement to begin a career in that field (i.e. graphic design, animation, the arts, etc.) Whichever program you fall under, I’m here to encourage all students to consider grad school as a path to further their studies and themselves.
Consider why you’re in college now. Most people’s responses would be it was the only way to earn a better annual income with a college degree than they would without one. Some noble answers would be because they’ve always liked school and love to learn. If that’s you, good on you; grad school may already be in your better interests. For the rest of you, going to grad school and earning your master’s or doctorate will only earn you more money in the market. According to the Federal Reserve, graduate degree holders earn 30 percent more than they could with only a bachelor’s degree.
Many students pursue extracurricular activities and/or internships for a chance to build their professional resumes. Networking can certainly get candidates a foot in the door, and interviewing becomes a skill, but at the end of the day, the resume is the tangible pieces of ourselves left with the employer. What’s going to place us ahead of the others seeking the same job we are? What do you have that’s different? That applies to that job? Well, higher education is one. Between the candidate with the bachelor’s and the candidate with the master’s degree, the one with the higher education is more qualified. To argue a point, many of us have heard horror stories of friends or family not getting hired because they’re overqualified for the position they’re hiring. While that’s a missed opportunity, that simply leaves room for the candidate with the higher education to seek a better paying job, an instant promotion if you will, at a place looking for more qualified candidates.
3. Perfecting a Craft
For many of the degrees that may not need a higher education degree, many go into grad school to perfect their craft. Often times, these are the arts. A Master’s in Fine Arts provides a chance for artistic students to continue learning and practicing their artistry. While simultaneously working on a final portfolio and seeking the open opportunities students tend to have, students seeking higher education will come out on top with better financial opportunities and marketability. Ang Lee received his master’s degree in film, and his education shows for his award-winning works, “Brokeback Mountain” and “Life of Pi.” Consider all your favorite artists. Who has a degree? Who classically trained themselves? Who sought out higher education? Not everyone does, and not everyone feels they have to, but learning the most you can at least deserves some consideration.