Graduate school can offer great benefits, from increased knowledge and higher salaries to career advancement and more job opportunities. All great reasons for setting your sights on a master’s degree. But what are some of the less-than-logical reasons to pursue an advanced education?
1. You want to follow the love of your life in grad school
Before you take a page out of Elle Woods’ book and follow the love of your life to law school, consider the sacrifices and challenges that await. Grad school is serious business and you should have a better motivation other than being near your significant other. Advanced studies take a lot of effort and requires a lot of time, and juggling research, coursework and finances is already challenging without adding the demands of a relationship to the mix.
If you’re married or in a committed relationship, make sure to talk through these challenges with your partner before jumping into grad school. Consider researching how marriage impacts student loans and FAFSA, and take a close look at housing costs.
2: You’re broke, but want to earn more
Having a master’s degree on your resume can mean increased income through higher salaries or better paying jobs. Still, if you’ll be self-financing your studies, consider enrolling after you have enough money saved up to pay for tuition and expenses. While a master’s degree is a significant investment which will pay dividends as you progress in your career, you need to start on solid ground so that your finances don’t derail your education.
Set aside money for grad school, so you don’t have to depend on scholarships or your parent’s financial support, and look for ways to reduce your debt load or manage your budget. (Check out these tips for preparing financially for graduate school.)
3: You want to make your parents happy
A lot of parents push their children to explore higher education. Maybe they feel having an academic achiever is a source of family pride. Or they view an advanced degree as an opportunity for greater career or financial success.
Sure, you want to make your mom and dad happy, but don’t let them be your only inspiration for going into grad school. It’s something that you need to want for yourself, or you may not have the internal motivation to get through the long hours and thrifty living.
Don’t forget though that parents want their kids to be happy, so if you pursue a life you love, even if it doesn’t include grad school, chances are your folks will be proud and happy of your achievements.
4: You’re bored with your life
You have time and money and you’re bored with your life (or feeling a bit lost after getting your undergraduate degree), so, what about grad school?
Before enrolling in advanced studies, try to explore other hobbies and interests first, to cure your boredom. It’s a lot cheaper than forking out thousands of dollars for a master’s degree that you might not want anyway.
And exploring other interests may just be the rudder you need to find out what you really love to do. Then, if you still want to pursue a master’s degree, you can jump into advanced studies in an area that you are driven to explore.
Find your purpose first and that boredom will disappear beneath the lens of a microscope, in a class discussion you’re passionate about, or in the fieldwork that makes time fly because it’s what you want to do.
What’s the takeaway?
Graduate school can be an enriching experience for professionals with a serious desire to succeed and advance in their fields. But make sure that you have the right reasons for going. That will make the path to a master’s degree much smoother for all the right reasons.
What is your motivation for going to graduate school? Share them in the comments section below.
Check out UNCO’s graduate programs to find the right degree for you.