5 Reasons Why You Should Wait Before Going to Grad School + Why I Didn't

Senior year of college was a whirlwind of events. Between interning in Washington DC and planning for graduation, the thought of attending more years of school was the furthest thing on my mind. Then it happened suddenly, grad school was all anyone was talking about.

Whether it was a genuine interest to advance their education or a desire to avoid the real world, people left and right were filling out graduate school applications and talking about it like it was the only possible option. In a moment of panic I too submitted a few applications, just in case I needed a back up to my plan to take a year off.

Two months at home made me realize a year off would feel like an eternity, which is why within a week I accepted an offer at my current university, bought a plane ticket and signed the first lease I could find. Was it a rushed decision? Yes. But without it I wouldn't be where I am today. With all that said, it's been a complete rollercoaster, and I'd be lying if I said I haven't wished I had waited a bit before jumping into more years of school.

Below are the five benefits of not entering graduate school immediately after college graduation, as well as my reason for doing it despite the reasons below.

You might also like: The 8 Important Lessons My 2nd Year of Grad School Taught Me

Thinking about taking a year off before grad school? Read why I didn't take a year off before graduate school, plus the five reasons why you should wait before applying to graduate school.

Gain work experience

It can be scary to graduate from college and begin to job hunt, especially when you have minimal work experience and no real clue of where to begin. As someone who had to get a job immediately after graduation I can completely relate, and trust me when I tell you that it's not impossible. Don't be afraid to take a job you feel your overqualified for, because some experience is better than nothing. Spending time in the workforce will give you skills you can't get in any graduate program, so don't minimize the benefits of skipping school and going straight to work.

You might also like: How I Got a Job Right After College Without a 4.0

Determine the right degree for you

If you're in any way unsure of what to earn a masters in, it's better to take time to be sure instead of spending money on the wrong program. Graduate school is substantially more expensive than undergrad, so you want to make sure it's the right degree you're working towards. Spend some time researching various types of masters and the possible career paths each can lead to.

Learn about the various universities

Once you know what you want to study, make sure the school meets your qualifications. As much as I enjoy my program, I do have serious issues with my actual campus. Had I know then what I know now, I would have definitely picked a different university. Talk to current students, look up opinions of the program online, and don't be afraid to ask the hard questions to admissions counselors.

Figure out the cost

Did I mention graduate school can be expensive? Cause I think it's worth mentioning again. If your plan is to go right after college, chances are you'll need a loan to cover the costs, even if you work while in school. Compare the costs of different programs, as well as the cost of living in the city the campus is located. Taking time off not only gives you the opportunity to your research, but save money and apply for scholarships.

You might also like: All the Important Lessons My First Year of Grad School Taught Me

Thinking about taking a year off before grad school? Read why I didn't take a year off before graduate school, plus the five reasons why you should wait before applying to graduate school.

Better your chances of being accepted

If your program of choice is competitive, it may be of benefit to spend that year off gaining work and volunteer experience. Most college graduates have similar resumes, but a year is all it takes to gain life experience that can set you apart from the crowd. Talk to people who have already been admitted about what they did before attending the school for ideas on how to boost your chances of being accepted.

Why I didn't wait

Often I say I started a graduate school immediately after college because I was bored at home and my mom was pressuring me to figure my life out. While that is true, the other side is that I've known for a long time exactly what I want to do with my life. If you're like me and have no hesitancy about your career path, go for it! My only advice is that you not sell yourself short. Don't attend a school just because it's the only one that let you in or that you can afford. Do your research, reach out to others and make sure to set yourself up to enjoy the process of earning your masters.

Are you considering grad school? Leave any questions or advice you have in the comments below!

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  1. college and working are such different experiences. I feel like it's a better idea to work in your field first to know if you actually like it or not! LOL alot of times going to school for something is more fun than actually working in it. great post!

    1. Yes! Luckily I have always had a clear picture of what I wanted to do, but if I had any doubt, I would have definitely gone to seek experience first. So many friends of mine now hate their chosen degrees, which is such a shame because they cost so much time and money!

  2. I can't agree with this enough! I'm in a PhD program for neuroscience, and I see so many people who come right after college just because they're bored or don't know what they want to do. They end up leaving the program because it's not what they thought it was going to be. I, myself, also wish I would've spent some time working in the field before going to grad school.

    1. Exactly! I've met multiple people in my program who later drop out because they couldn't balance everything or just weren't interested in the topic. Sometimes I wish I would have taken a break but I cant see myself going to grad school when I'm older, I have the energy and time right now lol