GVSU Career Center

The Graduate School Decision

How is graduate school different from undergraduate education?

  • Graduate school focuses on a specific, concentrated area of study where undergraduate studies introduced you to a wide range of subjects and skills.
  • Graduate programs are designed to develop working professionals.
  • Most classes are held in the evening.

Benefits of going to graduate school immediately following undergrad:

  • You are still in “study mode".  You are able to maintain the academic motivation and energy necessary to perform at the graduate level.
  • Some fields require an advanced degree in order to immediately prosper and advance in your chosen career.
  • Many students have fewer personal commitments - such as families of their own or mortgages - and, therefore, have an easier time relocating.

Benefits of postponing graduate school following undergrad:

  • Some graduate programs require that students have prior work experience in their field before they can be admitted.
  • Working for a couple of years after receiving your bachelor’s degree can help you to confirm your career goals and later choose a graduate program that is the best fit.
  • Having prior professional work experience before returning to graduate school can enhance your learning in the classroom.
  • Graduate school is a major expense. Some employers offer tuition assistance or reimbursement to their employees. 

If you choose to take a year off, be intentional with your career planning.

  • Get an internship in a new location.
  • Volunteer within your field.
  • Join AmeriCorps or the Peace Corps.

What an advanced degree can offer you:

  • An opportunity to develop your interests and skills into a full-time career
  • Possible increases in earning power, the amount of responsibility you assume, and the freedom you have to make your own decisions
  • Enhanced job satisfaction
  • Flexibility to change careers

Page last modified June 10, 2014