So many students believe that the best thing they can do, once they have obtained their undergraduate degree, is to go straight into graduate school, the thought seems to be to carry the momentum gained from graduating with a bachelor’s degree and use it to stay motivated through grad school. Really, though, for lots of people, it’s best to wait. Here’s why:
Real World Experience
So many people choose to go to grad school for the same subject they studied as an undergrad. If this is your plan, it really is in your best interest to take a few years off of school and work within the field you’ve studied. This will show you, at least as an entry level employee, what it is really like to work within the field you’ve chosen. Real world experience is what will help you figure out whether you really want to devote a few more years of your life to studying that subject. That way you don’t have to worry that, after all of that extra study and expense, you’ll find out that you hate that field and want to do something else.
If you go to grad school right after you get your bachelor’s degree, the school you attend will most likely be the same one from which you just graduated, whether or not it is conducive to your learning style. As a graduate student, you need to find a learning environment that caters to your particular learning style. That might be a large, state funded, university. It might be a small Christian graduate school with smaller class sizes. Taking time off after undergrad gives you time to find the school that is best suited to helping you succeed in your graduate studies.
Money, Money, Money
Graduate school is expensive. Taking a few years off after getting your bachelor’s degree to work and save up will reduce the amount of money you will need to take out in student loans to continue to fund your education. It also gives you time to pay down your undergrad loans so that you don’t have to worry about the interest piling up while you go back to school.
Appreciation for the Education
Taking time off from the academic environment will build your appreciation for it when you are ready to go back. Going back to school because you want to, instead of because you feel
like you have to increases
your appreciation for the education you have chosen to pursue. This appreciation will increase your dedication to your studies which will improve your chances for success—not just in terms of your grades, but in terms of your ability to parlay your master’s education into employment after you graduate.
These are just four of the reasons that you should wait to go to grad school. No matter what your peers or your professors tell you, taking time off doesn’t automatically mean that you will lose your momentum. It means that you are making sure that you are doing exactly what you should and need to do to set yourself up for future success.