Is Graduate School Worth it?

Weighing Your Decision to Get Your Master’s Degree

Graduate SchoolGetting a master’s degree can open doors, but the amount of debt it brings can also lead to devastation. Many people believe that having a master’s degree can make a big difference in the professional world.

John Genovese, University graduate student, said that in this economy, students who graduate with a bachelors degree should try and enter the working world right out of college. But if a student isn’t being offered a position, he or she should then apply to graduate school.

“Graduate school gives you a chance to add to your skills and make yourself more marketable for potential employers,” said Genovese.

Genovese said that graduate school will give students the opportunity to further their knowledge in their field. It will allow the student to tackle more complex topics in much greater depth. A graduate degree is a huge commitment but it will always shows that you have a thirst for knowledge and are able to take your abilities to the next level, he said.

“Time management skills are crucial to surviving in the work force. There is no way someone can get through graduate school without the ability to juggle multiple things at once,” said Genovese.

Melissa Colte Educational Leadership graduate student, said that if a student isn’t guaranteed a job right out of undergraduate school, he or she should go back to school to further their education.

“I believe my master’s was worth it in the long run because I already know a lot more about public education. The professors at Monmouth University are aware of all the new laws and budgetary issues involving public schools. When my master’s program is complete, I will receive a pay increase,” said Colte.

Donna Cardillo, CPC Monmouth University graduate student, said that every student should attain a master’s degree at some point. A bachelor’s degree alone will never get a student a job or ensure a successful future. Education is only one factor but an important one.

“It has made an enormous difference in my life. I know more about myself and the world around me. I am more confident and better prepared to make an even more positive impact in the world,” Cardillo said.

Cardillo said that graduate school is a small price to pay for the lifelong benefits, both personal and professional.

“My higher education was a wave that was propelling me forward and continues to do so today,” said Cardillo.

Lily Lupo, Rutgers University liberal studies graduate student, is currently on hiatus from graduate classes at the university because she feels it is not required at this time. Lupo is currently in debt from her undergraduate degree and feels in this economy it would be better to first pay off her current loans before creating more debt.

“I am currently working in the city, making great money as a secretary for a law firm and I feel I will go back to school and finish my degree when the economy gets better and I pay off all of my loans. Currently I am not in line for a big promotion, so a master’s certificate is not my top priority,” said Lupo.

Linda Flaming, Associate Professor in Accounting, points out that while graduate school might not be needed for a student’s first job out of college, when it comes time for a promotion, the student with the advanced degree will usually get the benefit.

“Students need to get out into the world, and get hands on experience. If the job isn’t there, then they should go ahead to graduate school,” said Flaming.

According to the University website, the current price of graduate school is $868.00 a credit. However, in order to begin working towards a master’s degree, a student must acquire a bachelor’s degree first.

Sara Dizenhaus, University Graduate Alumni in the Master of Arts in Teaching, said that most of her friends will be paying off their graduate school loans for the rest of their lives.

“My total cost for 36 credits comes out to around $35,000,” said Colte.

Dizenhaus highly recommends students to go back for their masters degree right after receiving their bachelors degree, because in this economy, the jobs are extremely limited in every field.

“Rather than sitting home wondering why you aren’t employed, I suggest students start taking classes towards a master’s degree if they have the opportunity,” said Dizenhaus.

Dizenhaus said that her master’s degree cost about $36,000. Until the economy improves, the certificate will not pay for itself. Enhancement in the economy will lead to an increase in pay and sometimes better positions.

“When you're going through a graduate program, you are faced with more complex assignments that force you to think more in-depth about various topics. The degree facilitates a student in developing valuable skills while also sharpening the skills you already possess,” said Genovese.

“Don’t get a masters degree just to get it. There has to be a purpose and goal,” said Genovese.

 PHOTO COURTESY of the City University of New York