No Jobs? Graduate School…Here I Come!!! (PART 2)

In our last entry, we discussed the benefits of using graduate school as a way to avoid this challenging job market.  It is now time to look at the other side.  As we discussed earlier, continuing your education is never going to be a “bad” idea; however, it is important to analyze the costs and benefits.  Here are some of the reasons why you may want to rethink going to graduate school to avoid the market: 

DISCLAIMER:  The discussion of continuing education refers only to the use of graduate school as a means to avoid the real world for a period of time.  This does not apply to the pursuit of knowledge, interests or career goals.


1.  The Cost.  Whether it’s a public or private institution, graduate school will cost you a lot of money.  Most college students will leave school with a significant amount of debt to begin with and graduate school will certainly add more.  A private school JD can run you as much as $200,000 (including books, bar prep, and living expenses), so when I tell you that I know law students who will graduate with upwards of $400,000 in debt, I’ not lying.  Now, most lawyers will make sufficient incomes to cover those loan payments, but what happens if you don’t decide to become a lawyer?  Or law school was just a holding pattern for your life?  $400,000 is a pretty big hole to try and dig out of.  


2.  Loss of Time.  If you don’t have any interest in business, why are you getting an MBA?  Graduate school may take 1-4 years depending on the degree, time that you could have spent building a foundation in the working world.  If you’re not committed to becoming a lawyer, doctor, professor, etc… why waste your time?  Despite the terrible job market, keep looking for opportunities rather than increasing your debt load and pursuing a degree that may not provide any increased earning potential.


3.  In the last post, we discussed the importance of the easy transition from college to grad school.  While the transition may be easy, it doesn’t mean you are going to do as well as people who have been in the Real World.  A common theme amongst older students who are returning to graduate school is that they tend to do much better than students who have come straight from college.  Why?  Because they know how difficult the Real World can be and they realize the importance of making the most of this education.  Many college students who jump into graduate school have the same “college” mentality, which can ultimately lead to poor grades, limited learning or worse, flunking out.  If you are pursuing graduate school immediately following college, make sure you’re ready to make the academic transition because you’re not in college anymore.


The point of this post is not to discourage anyone from going to graduate school, but simply to make you think twice about making a significant investment of time and money.  If grad school is your answer to this job market, really think about whether or not you’re making the right decision.  However, if you want to be a lawyer, business person or college professor…GO FOR IT.  Graduate school is a wonderful place to learn more about yourself and a specific area of interest, but always make sure that it’s for the right reason.


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