Why Pursue Graduate Education?
There are three excellent reasons for attending Graduate School:
- A graduate degree is a prerequisite for entering certain careers, such as law, medicine and university teaching. Therefore to pursue such positions, advanced degrees are necessary.
- The love of a particular subject and the desire to study it in-depth and/or specialize.
- You can get a better job in your field with a graduate degree.
There are also a number of poor reasons for attending graduate school:
- You want to avoid looking for a job. You are afraid of finding or not finding employment.
- You don't know what you want to do for a career and you think that graduate school will help you decide. In reality, choosing to go to graduate school should be the result of making a career direction choice.
- You believe the liberal arts degree has not prepared you for the world of work since it is so broad.
- You cannot get a job with a B.A. because of overcrowding in your field. (Many occupational areas that are glutted for those with undergraduate degrees are also glutted for those at the graduate level. Check it out- you may be no better off with a graduate degree or you may be overqualified).
- It is expected now after college (i.e. your parents or professors expect it).
Graduate School is highly self directed; it is difficult to make a go of it when you are unsure of the reasons why you are there.
Analyze your motives for considering advanced study. Will attending graduate school help you develop your abilities and achieve your goals? Exploring the following questions may help you with this analysis:
What kind of position am I interested in pursuing after graduation? Does it require a graduate degree? -- Attending grad school should not be a way of postponing a decision, in fact, it should be the logical result of making a decision.
Are my interests compatible with the activities I will be involved in during advanced training? Am I motivated to explore the detail of a specialty area?
Am I familiar with the variety of positions held by individuals with advanced degrees in my field?
Do my achievements and academic background reflect the ability to successfully complete a graduate program?