Weigh Bottom-line Benefits of Grad School

 

Q.  I have a major decision to make in the next month–grad school or continue my so-far unsuccessful job search.  I graduated in January and can get my grad degree in a little over a year, so perhaps the economy will improve further by then.  What do you recommend?  -LB

A.  Don’t assume graduate school will increase your chances of landing a job next year.  You’re not alone in weighing the decision to continue your education in pursuit of a master’s degree.  Therefore, you will be entering the job market in a year or two with a record number of others who opted to return to college.  More alarming, the Wall Street Journal reports that a grad-school degree doesn’t necessarily pay off in the job market.  According to the Journal, the jobless rate among individuals with master’s degrees has risen to 4.2% vs. 2.9% in June 2007.  And the Journal indicates the average pay difference between bachelor’s and master’s degrees — currently $7,954 a year — will narrow as more qualified candidates accept lower-paying jobs. 

As Syracuse University professor Bill Coplin said in a post earlier this year — The Grad School Option:  “Deciding to go to graduate school should be a business decision where the risks, costs and rewards of this significant investment in time and money are carefully considered.”

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