Should You Go to Graduate School After College?
This blog post is sponsored by College Ave Student Loans. As always, all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands I trust!
I liked school so much growing up that I chose to live at school. I sent myself off to a boarding school at 14 because I was so committed to a rigorous education. While most teens might dread nightly study hall, participation-based classes, and a never-ending reading list, I thrived.
This isn’t meant to be a brag. I did well in school, and I continued to do well in college, but that’s not the point I’m getting at. What I mean to say is that it’s my passion for school that’s led me to where I am now. Graduate school is in my future, and I couldn’t be more excited.
As an English major and someone who writes for a living, I’m often asked the big “Why grad school?” This is an expected question. English majors don’t always get the best reputation, especially as far as job prospects are concerned, but most of this is a misunderstanding. As I said in my post on the defense of the English major, more employers are looking to hire English majors (and my fellow liberal art friends) than ever before.
In this post, I wanted to take the time to examine some of the reasons why you should consider going to graduate school. More importantly, I’ll help you determine if it’s the best fit for you.
Increased Earning Potential
For me, this is one of the leading factors in making my decision. I’d like to say it’s all about continued learning, and while that’s a significant part of the process, it’s not the only part. Money is important. I want to know I’m making what I’m worth.
As a freelancer who works for herself full-time, experience is everything. Because I’m so young, it’s not always easy to convince clients, especially larger businesses, to work with me. More importantly, it’s hard to convince them to pay me more. An advanced degree shows that I’m committed to my craft and that I take my work seriously.
There’s simply greater earning potential for those who have a higher degree. In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, it’s a 30% difference in average annual salary between those who hold a master’s degree as opposed to those who hold a bachelor’s degree. That’s reason enough for me to keep it in my horizon.
Change in Career
When I go back to school, I won’t be pursuing an advanced English degree. As someone who’s fallen in love with marketing after college, I will probably be pursuing an MBA. This is one of the perks of an advanced degree. You have the option to specialize in anything you want, even if it’s not in your original area of study.
I’m a strong believer in being a well-rounded professional. The world needs more liberal arts majors with business skills and more business majors with liberal arts skills. I know so many people who studied something in undergrad only to enter the workforce and realize that isn’t for them.
There’s never any shame in admitting something isn’t for you. All education is something to be gained, even if it doesn’t end up contributing to your long-term career goals. A graduate degree is an opportunity to hit reset and learn something new. I know I’ll be one of the best writers in my MBA program, and it’s these differences that help me stand out.
Believe it or not, grad programs aren’t the same as undergrad programs at all. In my undergrad classes, I always was sitting in a lecture hall or classroom listening to the teacher instruct the class. A graduate program is much more hands-on. The friends I have in masters programs often tell me about their courses and honestly, I’m pretty jealous.
Classes are smaller, teachers are more closely involved with students, and the work is different. From research outside of the classroom to highly-specialized projects, the work done in a graduate program is much more applicable to real-world situations.
Affording Grad School
I’m going to be blunt: I have student loans. For the longest time, I had a very poor understanding of how student loans work and how they’ll affect my future. Now, I’m so thankful for these loans for helping me afford a great education, something that’s opened many doors for me.
An advanced degree is a big investment. According to the College Board, for the 2017-2018 academic year, the average grad student borrowed $17,990. Borrowing money is usually stressful, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
Even if you have scholarships, grants, or a fellowship program, you still might need to make up some extra funds on your own. This doesn’t mean a grad program is out the picture. College Ave Student Loans is here to help. By making the student loan experience a simpler process, you can actually design a grad student loan that’s right for you. Check out their student loan calculator to find ways to save on grad student loans.
One of my biggest challenges with my bachelor’s program loans was that I felt like the process was out of my control. I didn’t understand much of what I was agreeing to, and I didn’t know how to take my own goals into account. College Ave isn’t like that at all. Not only is it easy to apply for a loan in a few minutes, but the entire process is also completely transparent. No surprises or confusion.
Without College Ave, grad school probably wouldn’t be a possibility for me. I don’t have thousands in savings, and I don’t know for certain that I’ll be in a position to find a full scholarship. Like most students, I need some financial help. Luckily, it’s readily available to make my dreams a reality.
Making Your Own Grad School Decision
These reasons above are why grad school is in my future. What about you? If you’ve thought grad school was out of reach due to financial reasons, you’re not alone. I’d highly recommend checking out College Ave to see if there’s an option for you. With flexible repayment options and no origination fees, you don’t have to jump through hoops and terms and conditions to find the right student loans.
More importantly, don’t let student loans intimidate you. I know that my student loans made it possible to afford a bachelor program, and they’ll help me afford a graduate program. Because of student loans, I have the chance to push my career further. As long as you’re borrowing responsibly, you’re investing in yourself.
What’s the right choice for you? Personally, I’m actively searching for the right MBA program to launch a new path of my career. From there, the sky’s the limit.