Straight to Grad School or Take Some Time Off?

Many soon to be graduates of their first degree are faced with the pressing question of when to start grad school.  It can be tempting to get it over with and finish as soon as possible, as well as continue while you are already in the school mind set. However, for many, this is not financially feasible, or they want to get professional work experience in their field before continuing their studies.

So as much it might seem like the right thing to do to jump right into graduate school, it might be of value to consider some factors before.

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For one, most students choose a major at the start of college and study it for four years. This subject is usually based on what they were passionate about in high school, or what they thought was the right choice at the time for various reasons.  And some student’s first choice major may very well be the best one for them, however things do change over time, and as they learn more, they also may learn it is not their calling.

Rather than starting graduate school and investing more time and money, it is of great value to work for a certain period of time in your specific field, and explore what is it really like to pursue this. Take this time to try things out and confirm that you are sure about your chosen field. You might be in a rush to finish, but having to re-do graduate school in a different field will take more time in the end.

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Furthermore, getting experience now means you will be even more prepared later on. There is nothing quite like having had real-life experience to relate back to classroom learning. The information will better stick with you when you have actually worked in it, if of course, you allow yourself the time to work before starting the next step of your studies.  You will have an invaluable upper-hand on your classmates.

And what better way to ensure your application to graduate school then adding professional experience in your field on your resume? Many graduate programs are very competitive and only accept a small amount of undergraduates.  You are going to want to have something unique to show, and admissions staff are without a doubt going to look beyond just your grades. They want to see your professional goals too, and that your knowledge, insights and connections will bring something special to the classroom. Admissions staff are interested in the best interests of all the students.

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Graduate school aside, once you are looking for a job later on, having concrete work experience on your resume on top of graduate school in which every other candidate will have as well, will surely make yours stand out. If you were the employer, would you not want the candidate who has taken the time to work in the field already?

And while although it is very true that going to graduate school will most likely increase your earnings,  if you want to think more long term, you have to change your financial outlook. In that taking a few years off after undergraduate school to repay your debts, saving some money for your future and ensure yourself the best possible position following graduate school.

In conclusion, going straight to graduate school from college is something that should be carefully thought through.  If you truly excel in your undergraduate studies and feel confident to being accepted and successfully completing graduate school, then by all means. However working an entry-level job for a short amount of time to really build up your resume and knowledge is most often the safest move.