When people think of going to grad school, they often follow a single logical track—how much will it cost and will I earn more than I spent because of it?
This, to say the least, is a narrow perspective on the tremendous benefits of improving your level of education. Fiscal reasons are only one out of many forms of motivation.
Considering getting an advanced degree for fiscal reasons alone is as absurd as saying that Kareem Abdul Jabbar only played 20 seasons for the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers because it earned more than a corporate job. Surely, it was love of the game that motivated him to become a six-time Most Valuable Player, a nineteen-time All Star, and an eleven-time All Defensive Team member in the National Basketball Association.
Here, then, are six solid reasons why you should seriously think of getting an advanced degree if you have been toying with the idea:
1. You will learn more about a subject you love. If you’re thinking of going to grad school, it’s probably because the idea of deeper research and study is exciting for you. If you love using computers, for example, improving images with Photoshop, creating a few websites now and then, and following the Hour of Code week once a year with enthusiasm, you will enjoy enrolling in a Computer Science class. Sure, it will pay off in a big way, but beyond your future earnings, you’ll get a chance to hang out with other people who share your passion and learn about all sorts of things that would never even have occurred to you to research.
2. School will put the spark back into your life. You’ve often heard people in the working world exclaim that the best years of their lives where when they were in college. There is a reason why so many people feel this way: a study confirms it’s true! By going back to graduate school, you will add more life to your years. You were probably out of college by age 22 or 24 and then spent the rest of your life in the real world following company rules and regulations. Why not add three or four good years back in the educational stream, even if it’s only on a part-time basis. Perhaps, you became a high school teacher after college, and, perhaps, too, you’re someone who loves the structure, pace, and purpose of learning new things.
3. School will allow you to make a social contribution. Here’s an idea: use graduate school to influence the next generation. A degree in education will give you an opportunity to work with young people directly to help them shape their destinies. If you sign up for an online masters degree in education, you can work in a variety of fields besides teaching — for instance, as a counselor, helping students directly with their academic difficulties or career choices rather than teaching a specific subject.
4. You will have much better job opportunities in your field with an advanced degree than you would without it. When management is thinking of promoting one of two people with comparable levels of initiative and experience, it’s more likely that the one with the advanced degree, all other things being equal, will get a chance to move up. In fact, most people at the C-level of a corporation have an advanced degree. Yes, it’s possible to get up there without one, but the probability of getting there are much slimmer.
5. You can leave a career path you’ve come to hate. Just because you’ve been doing something for many years does not mean that you have to keep doing it over and over again. If you’ve been a lawyer for many years, but you love inspiring people with positive ideas, you could go back to graduate school, get a degree in Psychology, and then use that degree to build your credibility as a motivational speaker earning $15,000 a talk. Consider, who would you rather hire to be a keynote speaker at your annual corporate event—a Personal Injury lawyer or someone with a PhD. in Psychology?
6. It might not be expensive at all. You might just be able to get “free” education. According to a US News article on education there are several ways to get a free education: You can apply for Federal Student Aid, apply to charities or government agencies, or ask your employer to contribute.
It’s Not Just About the Money
Going to graduate school is much more than a financial decision. Life is far too complex to make decisions based on such simple logic. Any meaningful cost-benefit and risk-reward analysis has to include other factors as well. While grad school may or may not prove financially rewarding depending on what you study, it is always beneficial regardless of what you study. You can certainly improve your life by going to self-improvement and professional training seminars, but these are temporary events. If you want to be a champion in your field, then you will need the steady, structured approach you can only get from graduate school. Use an advanced degree to take charge of your life today.
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.