Grad Rad Experience

True story: Neither John or Mike attended any college after graduating with bachelor degrees. But they
know a ton of people who have, and they themselves both look very long at the route. On this week’s
episode, they talk about the pros and cons of going back for the post-grad degree.

Some notes to augment your experience

  • What is your goal. That is open ended so we are going to talk to you about ways to define your goals…
  • When do you make the jump?
    • Right after college or wait a few years?
    • Take the GRE no matter what during your undergrad days? Take the LSAT?
  • Industries where it matters-
    • Finance/ accounting
    • Health care
    • Business is a toss up
    • Higher Education
    • Engineering
  • True cost to attend – lab fees. Driving, opportunity costs to do other things
  • Debt –
    • Think about the costs? Let’s say you were making $40,000 a year at age 25 when you decided to go back. Do you want to spend two years eating ramen again? And how much will you be making afterward
    • If public service is your goal, any remaining debt is forgiven after 10 years of full-time employment.
    • The rule of thumb from financial advisors is that loans stop being affordable when monthly payments eat up more than 10 percent of income; total debt at graduation, should be less than your starting salary.
  • Does your city support graduate level students? Do you have the jobs? Where will the jobs be in your field? This is a big one. People get a bigger degree and then realize the only jobs that pay enough to warrant extra debt are in only certain markets.
  • Time Commitment:
    • How close to campus?
    • What about web-based programs (do they work, do people care)
  • Reputable program – Does it matter
    • More reputable schools might have prestigious companies recruit on campus
    • Alumni network
    • How you perform in your job and who you connect with matters much more than what school name you have on your resume
    • Public Teachers – no
    • College professors – yes
  • Don’t go just because:
    • You are having trouble finding a job
    • You are not happy with your current job
    • You don’t know what to do with your life

— This is not Undegrad…you are not in a dorm, not partying. You may have to grow a ponytail in order to by a TA.

5 Takeaways

1. Define your goals
2. What makes the most financial sense for you
3. Are the jobs there? Or are you willing to relocate?
4. Understand the time commitment
5. It’s not undergrad

Links

Peterson’s Guide — The Graduate Student Experience
Forbes — Is Grad School still worth the money?
US News — The ROI of Graduate Schools
Veritas Prep – Best degrees for Grad School

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