Jump to content
  • advertisement_alt
  • advertisement_alt
  • advertisement_alt

Having second thoughts about grad school


Nico Corr
 Share

Recommended Posts

As recently as five months ago, I was gung-ho about applying for grad school, and getting in to my desired field (IR/Security Studies). It was grad school or bust for me and I couldn't imagine not going. After talking with many on this board, and reading all of the threads authored by people warn against attending, I'm starting to waiver in my conviction to go and to even pursue a career in this field at all. I was elated when I got accepted to all three schools I had applied to, including my dream school. I had always assumed you needed a graduate degree to not just excel but to even get your foot in the door, but that seems to not be the case at all. I just can't justify ponying up $70K+ for a degree that gives me worse than a 50/50 chance of getting me to where I want to go. Sure I love the subject, and I could study it for the sake of studying it, but being unemployed or working at retail or waiting tables afterwards would make me feel differently afterwards I'm sure. I debating whether to to decline all of my offers, and either apply next year with better GRE scores/volunteer experience of some kind to get better funding, wait to see if I can get an employer to foot the bill for my degree, or just not go to grad school or pursue this field anymore and figure something else out entirely. 

Edited by Nico Corr
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ponying up $70K is a lot! Were you offered any funding at all? If you're having doubts, I would try to defer your most preferred option and decline then others. Then, reapply next year to try to get better funding OR try to find a job which offers tuition benefits. I wouldn't take on that kind of financial commitment if you're having any doubts.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
On 3/20/2018 at 11:47 AM, Nico Corr said:

As recently as five months ago, I was gung-ho about applying for grad school, and getting in to my desired field (IR/Security Studies). It was grad school or bust for me and I couldn't imagine not going. After talking with many on this board, and reading all of the threads authored by people warn against attending, I'm starting to waiver in my conviction to go and to even pursue a career in this field at all. I was elated when I got accepted to all three schools I had applied to, including my dream school. I had always assumed you needed a graduate degree to not just excel but to even get your foot in the door, but that seems to not be the case at all. I just can't justify ponying up $70K+ for a degree that gives me worse than a 50/50 chance of getting me to where I want to go. Sure I love the subject, and I could study it for the sake of studying it, but being unemployed or working at retail or waiting tables afterwards would make me feel differently afterwards I'm sure. I debating whether to to decline all of my offers, and either apply next year with better GRE scores/volunteer experience of some kind to get better funding, wait to see if I can get an employer to foot the bill for my degree, or just not go to grad school or pursue this field anymore and figure something else out entirely. 

In the exact same position as you. When I started the cycle (and throughout it), I was so obsessed with getting in and going to a top school that I didn't look into the realism of money or jobs (plus I started late so was super stressed with just the applications). However, putting the money in context and talking to alums now is giving me major second thoughts. Even I am having doubts about if this degree is even worth it when an MBA can easily do my job and often times is preferred above my credentials. Don't know if I should defer or just go to a lower ranked school which will cost me significantly less than the prestigious ones. On one hand it will save me a lot of money to pursue another degree/start a stress free post-graduate life but on the other hand I worry about the exposure/opportunities I will get with this. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 3/21/2018 at 8:03 PM, rising_star said:

Ponying up $70K is a lot! Were you offered any funding at all? If you're having doubts, I would try to defer your most preferred option and decline then others. Then, reapply next year to try to get better funding OR try to find a job which offers tuition benefits. I wouldn't take on that kind of financial commitment if you're having any doubts.

Yes it is! Yes I was with the caveat that I attend fulltime which isn't an option for me. Even with funding, I'm worried that the burden carried by my undergrad debt, and my grad debt will be too much to bear if I don't get a decent paying job in my desired field. I was told by someone that it's best to calculate your entire debt and if your projected salary for your first job out of grad school does not exceed the debt, it is not a sound investment. I'm leaning towards paying off what I have now, apply for more funding next go around and like you said, try to snag a job that offers tuition benefits. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 hours ago, nycpolicy said:

In the exact same position as you. When I started the cycle (and throughout it), I was so obsessed with getting in and going to a top school that I didn't look into the realism of money or jobs (plus I started late so was super stressed with just the applications). However, putting the money in context and talking to alums now is giving me major second thoughts. Even I am having doubts about if this degree is even worth it when an MBA can easily do my job and often times is preferred above my credentials. Don't know if I should defer or just go to a lower ranked school which will cost me significantly less than the prestigious ones. On one hand it will save me a lot of money to pursue another degree/start a stress free post-graduate life but on the other hand I worry about the exposure/opportunities I will get with this. 

I'm in the same boat. Iv'e even looked at going in to an alternative career in something like business or data management, and using the skills learned in that field to transition to my desired field. It's certainly seems like a slippery slope. I never thought I'd get rich going into the field I want, but I have no intentions of becoming insolvent because of it. Lower ranked schools could offer some value. I've talked to some people in my desired field who've stated all they really care about is you either have the skills or "have the box checked". Doesn't really matter where from. I guess it all really depends what you want to do. Have you talked to people doing the jobs you want to eventually do? I'd try to get in touch with some and pick their brains. Who knows, they may be able to give you more than just advice. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Nico Corr said:

I'm in the same boat. Iv'e even looked at going in to an alternative career in something like business or data management, and using the skills learned in that field to transition to my desired field. It's certainly seems like a slippery slope. I never thought I'd get rich going into the field I want, but I have no intentions of becoming insolvent because of it. Lower ranked schools could offer some value. I've talked to some people in my desired field who've stated all they really care about is you either have the skills or "have the box checked". Doesn't really matter where from. I guess it all really depends what you want to do. Have you talked to people doing the jobs you want to eventually do? I'd try to get in touch with some and pick their brains. Who knows, they may be able to give you more than just advice. 

Now that you mention this, I've not actually spoken to people who have the jobs I want. I've only spoken to alums of each of my schools..

Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 hours ago, nycpolicy said:

Now that you mention this, I've not actually spoken to people who have the jobs I want. I've only spoken to alums of each of my schools..

Definitely reach out to people who are doing the jobs you want and get their 0.02 on the matter. I've done so on Linkedin, and found them to be extremely helpful. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.