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Job offer or dream school? HELP!


penumbra46
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Hi all!

I am currently working at a job that I really enjoy and they offered me a full-time 2 year position. I was planning on going to grad school in fall 2021 and had already applied when I got the job offer. I recently got accepted to my first choice MA program at Columbia but am now concerned with costs. I would have to take out a big loan to go to school now so I feel like it might be worth waiting a couple years and saving money. However, I really don't want to have go through the application process again and I've been told there will most likely be a job for me at my current company later on if i decide to go to school now. Also, the program will cost the same in 2 years and I will most likely still have to take out a loan.

I just graduated from undergrad so part of me feels like I'm rushing into grad school but another part feels really excited about the program. I just don't want to be naive about the burden of student debt, and there's also the cost/benefit debate about Ivy Leagues so I'm uncertain whether the degree is worth the price. For context, the average salary in the field I want to go into will be about 100k.

Any advice is appreciated!

Edited by penumbra46
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I posted a similar question awhile ago (you can see on my profile) - and overwhelmingly, I got the advice to take the job. Take the job. We're entering a recession and good jobs (especially at employers you like) will be hard to come by. It is not a good time to take out a big loan. Also your program experience is likely to be funky with the possibility of classes still being online-only. NOT worth the cost of Columbia tuition IMO - networking and in-person interaction is one of the biggest draws of Ivy league programs.

Is there a possibility your employer can contribute to tuition reimbursement if you go to grad school later? Or a way of working and doing your program PT (that comes with its own opportunity costs of not being a FT student)?

Work experience will almost always trump schooling. If the job offer is salaried at $100K you'd be veryyy silly to turn it down to PAY to learn. Remember, you're not just paying tuition and living expenses, you're also losing out on 2+ years of income. Given that you JUST got out of undergrad, you're at a big disadvantage compared to other people in the market. 

Unless you're planning on trying to end up in academia, grad school will end sometime, and you'll have to return to the workforce (the "real world"). Grad school will always be there, and you'll be an even more competitive applicant with more time and experience under your belt. Who knows, your interests may change with more time in the field, and you may realize that you actually want to look into other grad programs!

A lot of people go to grad school to pivot or try to launch and get new employment opportunities after they graduate. It doesn't make as much sense for you to go to grad school and just end up in the same place you were before. 

 

Take the job take the job!

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On 2/25/2021 at 9:48 AM, studious_kirby said:

I posted a similar question awhile ago (you can see on my profile) - and overwhelmingly, I got the advice to take the job. Take the job. We're entering a recession and good jobs (especially at employers you like) will be hard to come by. It is not a good time to take out a big loan. Also your program experience is likely to be funky with the possibility of classes still being online-only. NOT worth the cost of Columbia tuition IMO - networking and in-person interaction is one of the biggest draws of Ivy league programs.

Is there a possibility your employer can contribute to tuition reimbursement if you go to grad school later? Or a way of working and doing your program PT (that comes with its own opportunity costs of not being a FT student)?

Work experience will almost always trump schooling. If the job offer is salaried at $100K you'd be veryyy silly to turn it down to PAY to learn. Remember, you're not just paying tuition and living expenses, you're also losing out on 2+ years of income. Given that you JUST got out of undergrad, you're at a big disadvantage compared to other people in the market. 

Unless you're planning on trying to end up in academia, grad school will end sometime, and you'll have to return to the workforce (the "real world"). Grad school will always be there, and you'll be an even more competitive applicant with more time and experience under your belt. Who knows, your interests may change with more time in the field, and you may realize that you actually want to look into other grad programs!

A lot of people go to grad school to pivot or try to launch and get new employment opportunities after they graduate. It doesn't make as much sense for you to go to grad school and just end up in the same place you were before. 

 

Take the job take the job!

I wonder if this is applicable for PhD programs as well? 

I'm currently working and waiting to hear back from couple PhD programs for Fall 2021 (already got rejected from 2 though :/) 

I had several years of work experience before pursuing my Masters few years ago and now reconsidering going back to grad school for PhD. So I'm one of those non-traditional student in some sense. 

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3 hours ago, Kim2016 said:

I wonder if this is applicable for PhD programs as well? 

I'm currently working and waiting to hear back from couple PhD programs for Fall 2021 (already got rejected from 2 though :/) 

I had several years of work experience before pursuing my Masters few years ago and now reconsidering going back to grad school for PhD. So I'm one of those non-traditional student in some sense. 

Hey - I'm not sure I can speak to this, since I'm not sure what fields you're interested in. Are you trying to ultimately end up in academia teaching or doing research? Or are you planning to return to industry after completing your PhD? Is your current job in relevant to your fields of interest? 

It also depends on the funding package for your PhD and whether you get additional fellowships, stipend, assistantships, etc. 

If I were you, I'd do a ton of informational interviews with mentors and people whose jobs you're interested in. They'd be in a better position of telling you, making projects for the field, etc. 

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5 minutes ago, studious_kirby said:

Hey - I'm not sure I can speak to this, since I'm not sure what fields you're interested in. Are you trying to ultimately end up in academia teaching or doing research? Or are you planning to return to industry after completing your PhD? Is your current job in relevant to your fields of interest? 

It also depends on the funding package for your PhD and whether you get additional fellowships, stipend, assistantships, etc. 

If I were you, I'd do a ton of informational interviews with mentors and people whose jobs you're interested in. They'd be in a better position of telling you, making projects for the field, etc. 

I'm in the media industry and my primary motivation for pursuing PhD would be to get a tenure track teaching job but I know those are rare these days. I also have 2 years of teaching experience as an instructor at higher ed. It's why I can see myself doing this full time in the future and most R1 institutions require you to have PhD to teach FT I believe. 

All the programs I applied are fully funded for 5 years and although stipends are not going to make me rich I think it's doable as a single person. (I do not have any family to support currently)

But due to Covid19 I understand most programs had surge of applications and this cycle is not looking to promising as initially I had hoped for...

Worse case scenario I can just keep my current FT job and build my career in the industry and hopefully when time comes and I'm lucky I can become a Professor of Practice at R1 one day. 

 

 

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On 2/26/2021 at 8:04 PM, Kim2016 said:

I'm in the media industry and my primary motivation for pursuing PhD would be to get a tenure track teaching job but I know those are rare these days. I also have 2 years of teaching experience as an instructor at higher ed. It's why I can see myself doing this full time in the future and most R1 institutions require you to have PhD to teach FT I believe. 

All the programs I applied are fully funded for 5 years and although stipends are not going to make me rich I think it's doable as a single person. (I do not have any family to support currently)

But due to Covid19 I understand most programs had surge of applications and this cycle is not looking to promising as initially I had hoped for...

Worse case scenario I can just keep my current FT job and build my career in the industry and hopefully when time comes and I'm lucky I can become a Professor of Practice at R1 one day. 

Very cool. Not super familiar with media or communications studies, but in general for PhDs and tenure track positions, I've heard it's really important to get research experience to make you as competitive as possible. Again I'd recommend interviewing PhD students and tenured professors within the academic fields you're interested in... as a student though I always appreciated professors with industry experience, since I never aimed at ending up permanently in academia myself. 

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