By Maro Onokpise

The dilemma that faces most undergraduates as they finish up their degrees is the decision to pursue higher education or get their careers started. There are obvious pros and cons to each path, but ultimately the decision is up to the individual.

After I completed my undergraduate degree, I was fortunate enough to land a great job with the The Gap Company.  When things didn’t work out, I tried my hand at graduate school until I could figure out exactly what it is I wanted to do.

If you find yourself in a situation where you’re debating whether to go on to grad school or jump in to the real world and find a full time job, there a few things to keep in mind as you make your decision. Keep the following in mind as you weigh your options.

Graduate School


Most people who favor going on to grad school typically recommend doing so right after you complete your Bachelors degree.  One of the primary reasons being that you are still in “school mode”.  You don’t have as many commitments and you can devote your time to your studies.

Given the fact that the economy has hit the 18-24 demographic harder than any other, the option to stay in school has become a more viable option.


The downside to continuing on to graduate school is the possibility of accumulating more student loans.  In the past, we were always taught to go to school, earn your degree and you’ll have a job waiting for you.  The reality is that is happening anymore.  Graduates are saddle with more debt and student loans than ever before.

Full Time Career


One of the biggest pros for waiting to go back to school is that real world experiences can teach you things that you could never learn in a classroom.  You have a better perspective on you can use your degree.  If you graduated with the wrong degree, you can find ways to couple your experiences and your education to put you in a better situation to a get job that’s better suited for you.

RelatedWhat to do if You Graduated With The Wrong Degree?

Additionally, as you are beginning your career, you are making connections that you would not have made if you were still in school.  These are connections that could help you down the road as you try to find job opportunities in a very competitive job market.


The further out you push going back to school, the less of a likelihood that you will ever go back.  You may be well intentioned, and you may genuinely have a desire to go back to school, but life happens.  You may find that you love your career so much that it becomes difficult to leave.  You may have a family which  could make it difficult to relocate to another city for a university that offers your desired program.  You may also just be so far removed from academia that it’s just something that doesn’t appeal to you any longer.

There are certainly drawbacks and benefits to either option.  I am huge proponent of higher education.  However I say that with that caveat that college isn’t for everyone and graduate school is even less so.  Weigh your options and do what’s best for you and your future.



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