I heard this question so many times when I decided to pursue a master’s degree. Actually, many students, especially those who have almost completed their undergraduate degree, are concerned about whether applying to graduate school is the best next step for them and if it will help them achieve their career goals. With hefty tuition fees and a huge time investment, is graduate school worth it? As I was someone who also hesitated before pursuing a master’s degree, here are a few thoughts to share about what made me continue my studies.
Most of all, I believe that a graduate degree may increase my options and professional prospects. When I worked as an assistant in the Korean Educational Development Institute (KEDI), I realized that the only way to move into a higher position is by getting better credentials. As more people earn undergraduate degrees, a master’s degree is increasingly useful in distinguishing candidates with university education. Advanced degrees raise your career prospects in any industry. Besides, for some areas and some job positions, employers require candidates to have a master’s degree. I expect that the new skills and knowledge gained from graduate education can improve my ability to do my best work and give me more opportunities for advancement in my career. A graduate degree can be not only professionally rewarding but also very personally rewarding. Hopefully my investment in this graduate education will eventually pay off in both tangible and intangible ways.
Another reason for making my decision is that a master’s program serves to satisfy my intellectual curiosity and sparks my passion. When I was an undergraduate, I didn’t know specifically what I wanted to do for a career. As a graduate student, I can develop clear goals and possess greater motivation as well as a commitment to doing more intensive work in my chosen field. Although most undergraduate students can study modules and classes of personal interest, a graduate degree does this to a much greater extent! The field of study is narrower and deeper and I can spend all of my schooling on my major subjects. In addition, not only studying the ordinary curriculum, but also attending extracurricular activities and meetings, hearing from guest speakers and lecturers, participating in projects related to the field I’m interested in is what makes grad school so diverse.
I think there is no fixed answer as to whether grad school is the right choice. Circumstances are clearly different for everyone and it’s all about the individual. In my opinion, having one or more of the reasons I mentioned for getting a graduate degree is a good sign of your potential success in grad school. Be motivated by the reasons you decided to study a master’s degree. To be honest, it is important to remember though that a graduate degree is not a guarantee or even a promise of a better career, but it can definitely help you get there. Lastly, keep in mind that passion can and should guide the way. I hope this helps somebody.