It’s a questions common among graduates and yuppies: Should I get a Master’s degree? They say that college degrees are the new high school diplomas. Once upon a time, holding one made you unique, a stand-out. Now, obtaining a college degree before joining the workforce feels like an expectation – the new status quo. In that case, the typical Millennial career tips would suggest a Master’s degree to stay ahead of the pack.
Despite the question being tossed around, however, one shouldn’t take it lightly. The validity of the question hides how much time, effort, and yes, even tuition costs, must be invested in order to grab hold of that MA. One doesn’t simply just choose to pursue a Master’s on a whim – it must be a carefully, consciously, made decision.
How do you decide if it’ll be worth it? Here are a few more Millennial career tips to remember.
Why Should I Go For It
The reasons stated above still contain plenty of weight behind them. A Master’s degree does make you stand out in your field. Off the bat, you label yourself as one who has gone the distance. It means you’ve studied in a focused manner, contributed new knowledge to your field, and put in the research and work expected of a professional. Deepening your expertise in a field is a reward in itself.
Careerwise, this gives you options. Staying in one field makes you more marketable, more in-demand. Meanwhile, LiveCareer.com points out that a Master’s degree can also help you shift careers. Taking on a Master’s degree is an investment that makes sure you have more doors open down the road.
For some occupations (law, medicine, etc.) the doors are only open to those who take further studies in the first place. Let’s not forget the benefits: those who hold master’s degrees get the reward of increased compensation.
Why It’s Not Worth It
Some graduates might think of further studies as a way to kill time while determining the course of their career. “I don’t know what else to do,” some Millennials might say, breathing the uncertain air of a rapidly shifting job market. “I’ll just keep studying instead.”
Here is where that line of thinking is mistaken: grad school is a completely different animal from college. In grad school, the lessons are tougher, the standards more rigorous, the expectations higher. After, the diploma that lets others know you’ve contributed to the academia at a Master’s level shouldn’t be expected to come easily.
“Don’t assume that your postgraduate experience will be a natural extension of your undergraduate course,” writes Rachel Michaella Finn, a Master’s student writing for The Guardian, “It requires more self-motivation and will likely be more difficult as well.”
These aren’t just Millennial career tips; they’re warnings too. If you want a Master’s degree without both passion and resolve to make a long-term career out of your degree, you’re setting yourself up to fail before even signing up.
Remember that the investment is huge. There’s plenty of reward in simply going straight to work (or staying at work) – it lets you find your financial foothold, and lets you learn in terms of experience rather than class work. And most importantly, many people still make it big despite the lack of a Master’s degree.
Hard work and a steadfast attitude are ingredients of success, no matter what degree you’re holding.