Epic Staff Battles of the Exponent: Workforce or Graduate School?By Aaron Zinkle • May 10, 2012 • Category: Opinions
Aaron Zinkle: Workforce
The spring semester is approaching rapidly, and there are many students, such as myself, that will graduate May 12 and face an important decision: graduate school or employment?
I completely support further education; however, I offer the following as reasons to pursue a career instead of a graduate degree. My argument is brought to you by peterson.com, which highlights numerous reasons opposing graduate school.
First, graduate school is highly competitive. Graduate programs typically have less positions than undergraduate programs. There’s competition for enrollment, research opportunities, grant money, and frequently, departmental politics, according to peterson.com. I think competition is constructive for society. As college students, we are competing for a chance of better employment in classrooms. You write a paper and you receive a point-value grade. You present a project and you are evaluated with a quantity based on your performance.
Raise the stakes, reduce opportunities for students to continue education through more strict pre-requisites, jack up tuition prices and you have a graduate program. Not to say that there’s anything wrong with demanding more from a higher quality education, which could lead to a better career, but is it worth it?
In addition to tougher competition, there are also the issues of higher costs and large sums of debt after graduating.
Graduate schools can be very expensive. If you do not plan to work during the semester, or will not receive an assistant job and waived tuition fees, education costs will soar, according to peterson.com. Furthermore, the website warns that debt incurred through graduate programs might force you to accept a job based on availability after graduation, due to financial needs.
If the arguments above are not enough, there remains the fear of being overly educated for the position. During tough economic times, if your seeking employment, having an advanced degree can be detrimental. You may be told, ‘sorry, you’re overqualified,’ according to peterson.com.
I hope that I haven’t squashed the dreams of some students who plan to attend graduate school, and I admire your efforts, but I fear that it will be quite difficult to succeed with the current condition of the job market and economy.
Gerrad Frei: Graduate School
Assistant Chancellor for Administrative Services Rob Cramer told me Tuesday one can never have too much education. I am inclined to agree with him, and I would believe that most of the students attending this university do as well. After all, are we not here to better our minds, to receive the tools that will help us perform in our careers?
This is why attending a graduate school after completing an undergraduate degree is beneficial.
Grad school allows for specialized training in a chosen field of study that cannot be achieved while pursuing a bachelor’s degree. Not only do grad students receive valuable work skills and advice, but they come to understand subtleties and nuances of their career fields in ways non-grad students do not.
Attending a graduate school increases potential earning power. Those with MBAs in business-related fields can earn nearly double the salary of their undergraduate level counterparts, according to gradschools.com. Those with an MBA also tend to receive jobs that have signing bonuses, while 52 percent are offered or have accepted a job opportunity before graduating.
Grad school also brings with it the one great intangible that people often forget: the esteem. It should not be lost on those thinking of continuing their education after receiving a bachelor’s that the prestige that comes with having an MBA is not lost on employers. It appears ambitious, self-motivated and, most importantly, it makes you look like a hard worker.
When considering where to go after your four years here, make sure to give graduate school serious consideration. It can provide crucial work skills, a greater pay rate and prestige. And students can find grad schools that will not only pay the tuition, but also give the student a stipend to help with food and housing.
In the end, grad school makes you a must-have asset to a variety of companies or programs, which will allow you the opportunity.