Good and Bad Reasons for Going to Graduate School

Graduate school is worth considering, but not all students attend for good reasons. The necessity of graduate school depends on what you want to do with the enhanced education you will gain. You have to know whether that outcome will be worth the extra money, commitment, and time required. I'll examine good and bad reasons for attending graduate school to help you determine if it's right for you. I'll also throw in some advice to consider as you consider this option.

Good Reasons

One good reason for pursuing an advanced degree is intense desire to learn a subject in depth. As long as you're willing to put forth the extra money, work, and time required to study this subject, go for it! Keep in mind that graduate-level study is intense and self-directed.

A second good reason for pursuing an advanced degree is that your intended career requires it. That's a no-brainer. Go for it! Just remember employers value work experience in the field as well as study of it. Gain that experience to ensure you're able to get a job in your desired industry.

Bad Reasons

One bad reason for attending grad school is that you're delaying deciding what you want to do with your life. With all due respect, you've had years to decide what to do with your life. If the years spent at college haven't given you insight into what career is best for you, I doubt spending more years at college will enlighten you.

Use another method to gain the information you need to decide on your career. Campus resources, including professors and career advisors, are available to help you decide, and it's much cheaper and easier to meet with them than to spend two to five additional years in school. Another option is completing an internship in a field of interest to see if that is where you want your career to be.

A second bad reason is pressure from family or professors. This is your life, not theirs. Yes, education is valuable, but do you need that graduate degree right now to have a successful career? If the answer is "probably not," graduate school probably isn't a good idea. You need commitment to be successful in grad school, and true commitment comes from the inside, not the outside.


Seek advice from career advisors and professors as you contemplate your future. If you doubt your willingness to spend the money, time, and effort an advanced degree requires, obtaining one probably isn't a good idea.


Work Cited: Western Michigan University Career Network. Career Search Manual.

Photo: chainat,

Darla Word

About Darla Word

I'm a writing tutor and editor from Michigan. My favorite subject to write about is writing because making better writers is my calling. I also enjoy reading, singing, swimming, and cardmaking.

Top Posts | College & University

Big Data: Career & Education Frontiers

Companies are willing to pay people a proverbial pretty penny to fill their resident data scientist shoes these days.  However, there is apparently a shortage of people training in data science and analysis of big data, hence the popularity of data science programs like the University of Wisco ... ...

Colleges Shouldn’t Pay Student Athletes

Student athletes bring much value to their colleges and universities and work extremely hard, so some think they deserve payment. The payment could take the form of salaries or some profits from selling autographs and apparel with athletes’ names on them. However, students’ primary reas ... ...

Green Technology, Education & You

In my opinion, there are few things more worthy of concern than the state of our planet. I’m not just referring to sea water levels. Another important issue is the immediate need for more sustainable ways of living. One palpable way to live more sustainably is to capitalize upon emerging form ... ...

Fathers' Day Gift Ideas on a College Budget

The average college student probably says the words “I’m so broke” once a day or more; I know I did. Due to student loans, the inability to work full time, or a number of other circumstances, the “broke college student experience” is something most every student can re ... ...