Is graduate school really a “no brainer”?

August 12, 2015 983


When a student reaches their junior year of university, they are faced with a difficult decision: graduate school. According to typical academic counselor advice, it seems like a no-brainer. After all, doesn’t more education correlate to more high-paying job opportunities? Unfortunately, this advice, no matter how well-intentioned, will lead to nothing but another few years of useless work and a disastrous amount of college debt added to the already heaping pile you have acquired through undergraduate school.

Graduate school is, for the most part, worthless.

The key myth underlying the pursuit of higher degrees is that employers are looking for high levels of education. The sad truth is that no matter how high your GPA is, how prestigious your school, or how cool your “cum laude” looks on your diploma, employers are looking for skilled employees, not educated employees.

This simple fact is why STEM majors have a much easier time finding work in the modern job market than liberal arts and humanities majors. A STEM degree, such as Information Technology, Electrical Engineering, or Applied Mathematics teaches you a useful skill. When  firms are looking to hire young prospects out of college, all that matters to them is whether you have mastered any skills or not. Someone who can provide impenetrable cyber-security to a banking firm is much more valuable than an English major who can tell you all the underlying symbolism behind “The Charge of Light Brigade.”

How does this apply to getting your master’s degree? Well, since you learned the skills and have certifications in your respective field, you have already provided what employers are looking for. Unless you want to become an academic, doctor, lawyer, priest, or some other specialized occupation, there is absolutely no sane reason for you to free-fall further into the black hole of higher education and end up with literal mountains of debt. While that “PhD” might look very pretty next to your name, it ultimately isn’t worth the heavy cost you’ll pay to have it.


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