written by: John Garger•edited by: Amanda Grove•updated: 6/8/2010
Are you thinking about getting your Master’s Degree? Explore the Top 5 reasons to go to graduate school and whether a Master’s program is for you
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The decision to go back to school for a Master’s degree is often a life changing one. While some look at graduate school as a means to advance their career, others wish to return to the love of learning they discovered during their undergraduate program.
If you are on the fence about going to graduate school, explore the five top reasons in this article other people return to university to continue their studies. You just may find that going to graduate school offers more than just the ability to get a better job or advance up the ladder at your present place of employment.
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OK, let’s be honest, the number one reason people go on to graduate school is to advance their career potential and get better jobs. It’s no secret that people with Master’s degrees advance quicker and make more money than those who have only Bachelor’s or other undergraduate degrees.
Still, make sure you do your research and discover exactly what the position your desire requires. You may find that the job you want doesn’t require a Master’s degree and end up going to graduate school for the wrong reason. At the end of your program, you may feel disappointed at the prospects your Master’s degree fails to offer you.
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Graduate programs are challenging; they are designed that way for a reason. Not everyone is cut out for graduate work so pursuing a Master’s degree is a wonderful way to challenge yourself and see just how far you can go learning a new or familiar subject.
Choosing the right graduate school is crucial to getting the most out of the program. Some graduate schools are transactional in nature, providing a service that the students simply soak up. Look for a good fit between what you want to get out of a program and what a program offers. You are more likely to achieve your personal growth goals that way.
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Undergraduate programs are designed to expose students to a variety of subjects, disciplines, and pedagogy. For many students, pursuing a Bachelor’s degree is as much a time for exploring what the world has to offer as it is a time for acquiring knowledge within the student’s major.
Conversely, graduate school is about subject specialization. Pursuing a Master’s degree offers you the opportunity to explore one subject deeply rather than many subjects at a much shallower level. You really have to love a subject to devote two to four years to studying it so be prepared for a level of depth you likely didn’t experience in your undergraduate program.
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Beat the Recession
When recessions hit, demand for graduate programs increases. People who face being laid off often seek to secure their position with a Master’s degree and those already laid off explore graduate programs while looking for work. Getting into graduate school during a recession is a bit tougher than normal because of this rise in demand.
Still, recessions can be a wonderful opportunity to regroup and set your career sights higher than before. When the economy turns back around, you are likely to be in a much stronger position and feel at ease that your skills and abilities are more in demand than they were before you had the Master’s degree.
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Come to Appreciate Academia
If you are like most people with an undergraduate degree, you attended your program when you were in your late teens and early twenties, a time when you knew it all and didn’t yet have an adult perception of what an education could do for you and your future family.
Although not an often cited reason for pursuing a Master’s degree, a graduate program will afford you the opportunity to see university from a new perspective; a perspective of greater appreciation not only for education but for the professors who help you achieve your educational goals. You just may find that you like the educational process so much you have aspirations to go on even further and pursue a Doctoral degree after your Master’s.