After College: Job Application or Graduate School

After spending most of your time learning in school, you are now one step closer to facing the ‘real world’. However, this moment can be confusing and scary for every college student. Some are still not sure about their future plans, but there are only three choices that they need to think about: first, pursuing the career that they dream of; second, continuing their education in graduate school; and third, some might think of taking a break for a short time. Choosing what you wanted to do can be one of the toughest decisions of your post-undergrad life.

If you are a college senior, the most common question that will be addressed to you is, “What are you going to do after graduation?” For students that are still confused, it can be really dreadful. You wanted your family members and friends to be proud that you have an ambition and direction in life. But it is understandable to be confused at this stage of your life. You just wanted to think about what is going to be the best choice that will make your future be well-planned. For students who wanted to pursue a Ph.D., professors may advise them to directly continue to graduate school. And for those students who are comfortable enough in school life, they may choose to continue their education than to face their first-ever job search because it is less intimidating for them. According to some people, if you do not continue to graduate school after college you may never return to school to pursue your studies. In order to help you with your dilemma, here are some of the questions that you should consider to ask yourself before applying to graduate school or applying for a job.

  • Do your career goals require an advanced degree?

Make a thorough research about the career path that you wanted to pursue. In some cases, a master’s degree or doctorate isn’t necessary for you to be successful. Your dream career may benefit more if you gain real-world work experience instead of attending graduate school. But if you are still not sure what your career goals are, then it will be ideal if you apply for a job first where you can further discover your strengths and think about what is your real interest. In some professions like teaching, research, practice in medical or health fields, and law school, it is ideal that you apply to graduate school immediately after graduating in college.

  • Do you feel burnt out?

After years of careful planning, being loaded with school works, doing extracurricular activities, and you may even have part-time jobs and internship, it is normal that you feel burnt out of keeping up with all of these activities. If you feel this way, then it is advisable that you take a break for a while. If you are not fully committed to pursuing a graduate degree, then you should not apply. Think about the time and money that you have to invest, it may be wasted if you are not serious enough with your goals. It is also important to note that graduate school is more intense than your undergraduate experience.

  • Are you financially stable?

Do you have any student loan debt that you have to pay for after college? If you don’t have any financial support like scholarship, a regular income, or any savings in your bank account, then it is better if you wait for a few more years. Apply for a job after college and improve your financial situation by paying off your student loans first. Don’t think of adding up more loans in your existing one to be able to apply in graduate school. It is normal to borrow money but you should think about your future and the financial stress that it will give you. You won’t want to spend your whole life working just to pay off the debt you accumulated. After paying off your debt, you can now start saving up. If you still want to pursue your education to graduate school, then you can now start planning on it.

  • Did you receive any job offers?

Some students are lucky enough to receive job offers before college graduation. Again, research if the career that you wanted to pursue doesn’t require a graduate degree, then think about accepting the offer. If you think that you will gain career advancement and skills, matches your degree, and offers financial stability, then it is best if you accept it. Remember that you should not let this kind opportunity to pass you by and that you can still return to school in the future if you really want to.

Making a decision after college can be really confusing and stressful. Everyone experiences this kind of dilemma in life. And if you really need more time to think, you can take a break first. It is important to consider that you can always return to graduate school or apply for a job at a later time. The most important thing is to know in yourself that you really have a goal that you wanted to achieve and a definite direction to a bright future.


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