The Great Postgraduate Decision
Hit the books . . . AGAIN?
As graduation approaches, many students face the same decision: Is going to graduate school or getting a job more beneficial? Considering the current economy and the job market, The Ampersand helps soon-to-be graduates decide.
Story | Mariah Nadler
Photo | Hayden Andrews
Although higher education seems to be a refuge for the indecisive, the pursuit of a master’s degree is not a perfect escape. It means juggling school, work and an internship or fellowship (teaching undergraduate classes as part of a financial aid package), not to mention writing a thesis.
In spite of this heavy workload, pursuing graduate studies offers the student a chance to further specialize his or her skill sets while under the tutelage of professionals in the chosen field of study. That can be beneficial in differentiating oneself from other candidates for a job.
Graduate school could leave students with steep debt and overqualified for most jobs. The latter stems from a surplus of doctorate and master’s degrees, a phenomenon which is commonly referred to as “the glut of Ph.D.s.” Therefore, it is best to only entertain this idea of higher education if the degree is necessary for the student’s career of choice.
At first, the job hunt seems a daunting task, but this option has quite a few merits, including a steady income and gained work experience. However, navigating the job market can prove difficult. Forbes Magazine reports that 53 percent of recent graduates are underemployed or unemployed. But by utilizing the right tools, graduates can find employment in their chosen fields.
Forbes suggests networking as a starting point. Even before leaving college, create a LinkedIn profile, utilize the campus’ career services department, successfully complete an internship and start a blog on WordPress. All of these social networking tools can give job candidates an edge over the competition. Forbes also suggests a college senior find a mentor in his or her chosen field. This can lead to connections within the field the student would otherwise not have made, as well as the imparting of insider knowledge.
After graduation, the job-seeker should join a professional group or organization specific to his or her field and continue to network throughout the job search process.
Although joining the workforce after graduation is notoriously difficult, The Ampersand believes that getting a job is the best option if the graduate’s chosen field does not require an advanced degree.