The decision to go to straight to grad school right after undergrad is one that takes a lot of preparation and self-reflection. However, I was wondering when I can/should apply to grad school for a Masters. If you know that you’ll be self-motivated enough to go back to school after time off, then it could be very beneficial. Unlike your undergrad degree, everyone in your grad program has similar interests to your own and you can form an invaluable network of peers upon completion of your program. In other words, you should only go to grad school if you’re positive it’s the best thing for you. Of course, this route also means that you will get to that grad school commencement that much sooner, if that is a factor that is important to you. Regardless of whether you decide to go to graduate school right away, you’ll need to plan your studies in advance. Trying to manage a family, job, and grad school may be much harder than continuing after undergrad. A big part of preparing for graduate school is having the right support system. If you’re not ready yet, you can be in the future! Option 1: Grad School First, Work Later Even if you land a tenure-track job, you are likely to have to relocate when you accept it. If you want to take a year off and then apply, and, let’s say, don’t happen to get in, you have to wait two years after undergrad instead of just one. Student debt is a serious problem in the US. Bear in mind that you probably won't end up going to law school only because it seems most people with specific long-term plans like these change their plans eventually. Waiting a year also means that you have more time to study for your GRE and can have more chances to get the score that you need, and you have more time to get letters from your professors. Business school alumni who have made the jump from college to an MBA program say that this option is not for everyone. I dont have anything now, not RN, CNA, nothing. Remember that not all graduate programs accept new candidates every year. I am starting PA school (tomorrow actually) and I just graduated in May. There are positives—and negatives—no matter what you choose. If that job requires a PhD then getting your Master’s out of the way as soon as possible gives you more leverage when applying for your PhD, and means that you will get out sooner since PhD’s take about 5/6 years to complete. Work for Kaplan You’ll never be too old—or too young—to pursue graduate studies. Getting Some Work Experience First Is Valuable. Should you go to graduate school right after college? In college, you probably had at least one advisor, as well as professors and TAs, who regularly checked in with you about your progress. Advertisement. You may not (yet) have the credentials to gain admission. -, GRE Accommodations: What You Need to Know. There are many benefits to pursuing graduate school immediately following college. So, whether you decide to pursue grad school immediately after undergrad, or if you want to wait a year or two (or ten! Considering Grad School after Bachelors? Going to grad school directly from undergrad can be appealing especially if you’ve gotten comfortable in an academic atmosphere and want to square away your degrees as quickly as you can. once you complete your degree. Did they take time off between college and graduate school? Speaking to people who have taken both path about the challenges that they faced may help you determine what is right for you. Look up current employees on LinkedIn to get a sense of their career paths. A high-ranking school can improve your odds of admission, particularly if that school is known to send a large number of students on to medical school. ), there is comfort in knowing that there’s no clear right or wrong decision. In some disciplines, having a graduate degree is a necessity for getting a “career” job. Site Map, disparities between job postings and PhDs awarded, GRE Verbal Practice: Questions & Explanations, GRE Math Practice: Questions & Explanations, Answers to Practice GRE Questions (Did You Crack Them? If your goal is to work in industry (e.g., pharma, data science, government, nonprofit, or a research institute), then you are likely to have a greater number of options after graduation. Invest in your future. Or are you limited to only a few options? Grad school is expensive. So, you’ve done it! Maybe you’ve given up a salary, moved far away from all your friends, and found that the academic demands are more challenging than you anticipated. A little about me. If you are self-motivated and know what you want, you won’t fall into this, but it is important to keep your goals in mind so you don’t lose sight of them. Why Should I Wait to Go To Business School? (Image via Science) This is the one I hear the most: If you go right into graduate school without giving yourself a break from undergrad, you will get burnt out. If you took a job and waited, would you be working in your desired field or have to find an unrelated job? Both paths are valid and have their respective advantages/disadvantages, so when it comes down to the decision, you are the one who needs to decide what is right for you. ), but without them, you’ll have difficulty launching and succeeding in your graduate studies in the first place. Though undergrad is a long four years, you will already be in the “student” mode of studying and going to class. These people often feel as though they are in the swing of school and worry that if they stop school for a period of time, they will have more difficulty starting again. But, once again, make sure that you have a solid reason for going so soon. Having limited options or many jobs you’re interested in requiring a masters degree may lean in favor of going to grad school immediately after undergrad. academic papers that you’ll be able to adapt and use as part of your dissertation. So let’s look at both sides to hopefully help you make your decision. This can really help you on your applications since some grad schools ask you to list which professor you want to work under and who you have already reached out to. 1. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages. Just make sure that you ask some professors for your letters BEFORE you graduate, so they remember your class participation/grades and can ask you any questions about the recommendation letters while you are still around. - Make a plan of both situations (grad school right after undergrad and the other way) to evaluate which track will help you to get to your goals. Honestly, no one really tells you how to apply to grad school, so this is some free info to keep in mind. psa: being in grad school is nothing like being in undergrad. I'll start this off by saying I have read post after post here on reddit and online about whether I should attend grad school right after undergrad. Before you start graduate school—whether you opt to do that immediately after college or after a hiatus from school—you should have a clear career goal and realistic expectations of what you can expect to achieve. In some cases, getting into your dream program may require you to develop your résumé through a one- or two-year (non-terminal) master’s program. Dear Lifehacker, My undergraduate studies are coming to an end, but I'm not sure I want to leave school yet. It can be more intimidating if it’s been a long time since you were in school… How much is graduate school really costing you? You have to determine how long you can afford to spend finishing that degree. Dear Lifehacker, My undergraduate studies are coming to an end, but I'm not sure I want to leave school yet. You can likely look forward to a steady income and free time. If you wait to go, you'll learn way more and understand what's useful to focus on. You’ll have a lot of (apparent) flexibility in graduate school—with very few requirements to be anywhere at a specific time. Reasons You Should Go to Grad School 1. With practice and commitment, you can learn to be great at anything. You would probably have to bear the considerable out-of-pocket costs of an MA or MS program. Graduate school is a marathon, not a sprint—and your race starts the moment you decide to pursue a graduate degree. I always knew that I wanted to go to Grad School, I just needed some time to really define my goals and skills. Most of all, the time management skills you’ll cultivate are likely to help you immensely as you embark on your graduate studies. It’s no secret that people who have graduate school degrees are generally paid more money than those who don’t. Life was a little crazy during undergrad--I worked midnights as a tech on a cardio/progressive care floor while taking anywhere from 18-21 credits each semester (I had no major freshman year and took some courses I didn't need, but I still wanted to graduate in 4 years). If you decide to attend grad school, entering with a sense of clarity about your goals will help you make the most of your experience. While you will certainly have an advisor in graduate school—and, in all likelihood, a Director of Graduate Studies—you will have to take much more initiative to ensure that you’re on track to meet your future career goals. If you think this sounds like you, then going to grad school now might be the better option. Terms and Conditions Undergrad accomplishments not seeming as impressive on a grad school application a year later (unless, of course, they’re augmented by even more impressive gap-year experiences). That does not mean you should dive right in immediately after completing your undergrad degree. It’s no secret that people who have graduate school degrees are generally paid more money than those who don’t. Explore our featured graduate schools & programs to find those that both match your interests and are looking for students like you. If your senior year has already started, or if you just don’t need the added stress on your plate, then you might strongly consider waiting that extra year (or more) to apply. When you ultimately decide to apply, ask for letters of recommendation (giving plenty of notice), and supply them with a brief list of your relevant accomplishments as well as copies of any assignments of which you’re especially proud. Many undergraduates who are considering grad school often wonder if they should go straight into graduate school or work for a few years beforehand. Business school alumni who have made the jump from college to an MBA program say that this option is not for everyone. If you aren’t quite sure which grad school you want to attend, need a mental break from school, want more experience to make yourself stand out, or don’t want to stress during your senior year, then waiting a year is probably the right decision for you. 20 Reasons to Go to Graduate School. You’ll need months (or more) of preparation to research programs and scholarships, study for and take the GRE, and get letters of recommendation. If you go right away, you'll just get it out of the way. ), Find MBA Programs Matched to Your Interests. Dr. Craig Westman, vice chancellor for enrollment management at Rutgers University-Camden, says the right decision is a personal one, but he does advise students to consider the ramifications of delaying grad school. For a program whose duration is upwards of five years, you’ll pay a very high opportunity cost. Find out options that you can pursue and whether or not it really is necessary to immediately start grad school after you graduate. self-development, fulfillment, experience). Keep in mind, however, that such master’s programs are not likely to come with funding. Find out what the qualifications are for the types of positions you hope to hold. The right time to go to graduate school is when you know you can be a successful graduate student. 8 Struggles of Going to Grad School Right After Undergrad by Alexxis Letizia. 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