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On The Fence About Grad School? Here Are 7 Reasons It May Be Right For You

During a typical college experience, you learn about a specific subject area over four years and then end up with a bachelor’s degree. But what’s next after you graduate? There are many different options, such as entering the workforce, starting your own business, or taking a gap year. Or, you could be one of those who choose to become a master in a subject area by continuing your education and going to graduate school

Grad school may not be for everyone, but if you’re curious about it, there are actually a lot of benefits when it comes to obtaining a master’s degree. While a master’s degree on average takes 18 months to two years to complete — significantly less time than it takes to earn a bachelor’s — the coursework can be more difficult, since you are taking higher level courses. Lots of times for master’s programs, you are also expected to complete what’s referred to as a thesis before graduating. But how do you know if attending grad school is the right move for you? 

Check out this list for seven reasons grad school may be right for you, whether you’re an undergrad student reading this and thinking about your next move, or a graduate who’s looking to get back into school. 

You Need It For Your Career 

Certain careers require you to have a master’s degree, so attending grad school isn’t really an option here, but more of a necessity. This means it’s something you want to plan and look into as early as possible. Research schools that have the program you need and decide if you want to go right after undergrad or if you want to take some time off in between. Some examples of careers that may require grad school social workers, librarians, teachers in certain states, clinical psychologists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, school counselors, and plenty more. If any of these fields interest you, then a master’s degree might be something you want to include in your long-term academic plans. 

You’re Looking For New Job Opportunities In Different Fields

Just because you get your bachelor’s in one subject, that doesn’t mean your master’s has to be in the same subject. For example, you can major in English in undergrad but decide to get a master’s in business administration. Getting degrees in different subject areas allows you to diversify your knowledge and expand your skill set. This is great for someone looking to change careers or someone who simply wants more options when looking for jobs. In fact, this may make you look well-rounded as an applicant as someone with a wide range of knowledge, experiences, and perspectives.  

Your Employer Offers To Pay For It

If you’re someone who already has a job lined up, see if your company has a tuition assistance program where your employers can pay for your tuition (or at least a percentage of it). Some jobs offer to help pay for a degree if it is in a subject area that is relevant to your line of work. Just be careful and do your research because there are often contingencies involved with this type of benefit — it may involve you being employed at this company for a certain amount of time, otherwise you may have to pay back the money spent on your education. 

You Want To Teach

If you have a desire to teach and want to enter the world of academia, then getting a master’s degree can definitely get you there. To become an adjunct faculty member at most universities, you will need at least a master’s degree. Becoming an adjunct is a great side hustle for lots of working professionals in their industries, and great exposure for people looking to potentially become full-time faculty professors. Usually to become a full-time professor, you’ll need a doctorate (unless it’s a terminal degree, like an MFA, in which case a master’s would suffice). 

You Love Your Field & Want To Go Deeper

Getting a master’s degree and continuing your education within the same field of study you did for undergrad can help you gain more credibility in your field and start learning how to conduct research that’s related to it. You can also make more connections through your time in graduate school, whether it’s in class, at internships, at conferences, or other opportunities to network. These connections can help you in the long run and potentially guide you toward the career you are seeking. You can also specify what, exactly, you want your career to focus on through your master’s, which is especially helpful if you have an undergrad degree that was very broad or you took classes in many different areas within your field.

You Like Remote Learning

In the past few years, going to school remotely has become normalized, especially when it comes to getting a master’s degree. The truth is, undergrad and graduate school are two completely different environments. One isn’t necessarily a continuation of the other; the atmosphere, vibe, and expectations are different. People getting their master’s degree come in all different ages and stages of life, with many being established working professionals. Grad school is mainly about getting the degree and focusing on learning the material. For this reason, and with so many online options now available to choose from, it makes getting a secondary degree even easier. You don’t need to worry about relocating to another state to go to your school of choice, and you can complete your assignments from the comfort of your own home and on your own time, allowing you to travel, work, or start up a small business while getting your education. Plus, since you aren’t utilizing on-campus resources, tuition costs can be less expensive as well.

You’re Ambitious — & A Multitasker

Lastly, another reason you should consider getting a masters degree is if you are able to get started on it during undergrad. This option (typically referred to as a 4+1 program) leads to you saving money because it will take less time to complete. It’s called 4+1 because it’s four years of undergrad plus an extra year after to complete your master’s, instead of the typical two years it can take after undergrad. This is great if you’re interested in kick-starting your career as soon as possible.

Courtney Lemkin is a National Contributing Writer for Her Campus. She writes life and career content on the site including advice on academics and more. She is a recent graduate of St. John's University where she majored in communication arts and minored in English. During her time at St. John's, she was the vice president of the campus' multimedia organization and also has previous experience writing for College Magazine. She later became an editor, social media coordinator / newsletter editor, and eventually worked her way up to holding the position of editor in chief. In her free time, Courtney enjoys anything related to the arts and loves going to see Broadway plays.