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Graduate school: Is it worth the time?

Some students decide that they want to go to graduate school to receive their MA after they receive their undergraduate degree. Going to graduate school can be considered an investment in one’s future. By taking an extra year or two to focus on your career, you will be more qualified for jobs in your field than somebody with just a bachelor’s in the same field.

It can make one wonder why everyone doesn’t decide to invest in their future and go to graduate school. Bobby Weldon, a business administration graduate student, believes that going to graduate school is more beneficial in the long run.

“Now it’s more challenging than the undergraduate program,” Weldon said. “I have less classes, but the material is harder.”

“I’m definitely going to graduate school,” Colbie Spann, a senior biology major, said.

But there are more factors to consider before deciding that you want to pursue a MA in your choice of studies. According to FinAid.org, the average cost of a master’s degree for students is between $30,000 and $120,000. The costs vary by each individual program. This does not include the costs of textbooks, supplies needed (computer technology, calculators, drawing/art supplies), and the cost of living (rent, insurance, food).

Darrell Boner, a library and information science graduate student, believes that graduate school is worth considering. He says that you need to mature twice as fast to handle graduate school when comparing it to undergraduate programs.

“Anyone who is considering graduate school should also consider the time and dedication needed for the program,” Bonner said. “It’s not as easy as it seems.”

Lauren Griner, a health and physical education graduate student, believes that graduate school is worth the investment, although she wishes that the VSU program wasn’t online.

“Undergrad is more introductory learning,” Griner said. “Grad school is much more information.”

So you’ve figured out the financing and that you want to go to graduate school, but there’s more to consider before making the final decision. It is not vital to have a master’s degree in every career field, although this should not discourage you if you want to go to graduate school. Consider researching the careers you are interested and see if it is vital or not to get a master’s degree.

Simeon Branch, a junior accounting major, says that he is not going to pursue a master’s degree after graduation. He says that the cost to get a masters degree is incredibly high, and it would be hard to maintain good grades while working full time to be able to pay for the degree itself.

The thought of going to graduate school and furthering your education is appealing, but the price tag is incredibly steep. While I agree that having a masters degree in your field will put you ahead on the job market, the debt it can put someone in is too great if one does not have a plan to pay for their degree.

While student loans are an option, monthly payments after graduation on top of other bills can make the debt feel overwhelming.  I believe that if one is interested in pursuing a master’s degree they should take at least a year after receiving their undergraduate degree to decide if they enjoy the field they are working in before making the commitment to study it for an addition year.  If one decides that they do not enjoy the career they have chosen, they won’t have spent an additional year or two and $30,000-$120,000 on the education for a career they do not want to work in.

Take time to look at the different programs there are at different colleges, and don’t feel pressured to get a master’s degree immediately after graduation. After all, your education is not a race.

Story by Veronica You, Special Editions Manager. Photo by VSU. 

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