Are you spooked by your impending job search and considering going to graduate school in the US instead?
In a 2009 New York Times article, Up to Their Ears in Debt, Samantha Stainburn questions the popular belief that graduate school is a good place to “hide out” while the economy reestablishes itself.
While statistics say that US students with graduate degrees earn higher top average salaries than those with bachelor’s, this may not be reason enough to pursue an advanced degree, especially in the current economic state.
Consider these pros and cons before you decide whether attending a US graduate school program is right for you.
Pros of Going to Graduate School:
1. Higher Salary
If you have an advanced degree, you will statistically earn a much higher salary in the US than with a bachelor’s degree. For example, the Times article says that graduates with a higher degree will earn:
- 15% more with a master’s in engineering
- 54% more with an MBA
- 175% with an MD
2. Loophole to Current Employment Climate
As we all know, it’s not the best time to be job hunting in the states.
Going to graduate school can push back your employment start date to a time when the economic forecast improves. Higher education can also contribute to your marketability once you’ve graduated.
3. Scholarships are Still Available
Despite the shrinkage in the financial support system, going to graduate school is still possible with merit-based scholarships, particularly for international students.
Since foreign students don’t qualify for federal loans, many US graduate departments offer international student support and are eager to draw high-ranking candidates from abroad with scholarship money.
Cons of Going to Graduate School:
1. Loans Are a Risk
Grants and scholarships for going to graduate school are limited, which make loans the primary source for tuition payment. It has never been more obvious that borrowing large amounts of money is dangerous – you may be in way over your head once you complete your degree, and you may not be able to afford to pay off your debt.
2. No Guarantee of Employment
Once you receive your diploma, you might immediately expect to find employment. Before going to graduate school, however, consider the possibility that the economy may not improve as drastically as you’d like by the time you graduate. Top-paying employment may not be as readily available as you’d expect.
3. Work Experience Is More Valuable
Many companies value related work experience on your resume above an advanced degree in virtually any field you are pursuing. A few years of work experience can bring you closer to your dream job than going to graduate school.
Graduate school continues to be a great investment in your future. In the current economic climate, however, you might want to think twice before purchasing a GRE prep book and going to graduate school in the US.