By 2015, it’s become a social norm for most kids to go to college, but for juniors and seniors, especially those who don’t have a job lined up after graduation, a difficult decision awaits: To begin the long, potentially fruitless job search, or to go into even more debt in order to increase your skill level? The answer is different for everyone, and depends on a number of factors.
The most important factor is that the student have a clear idea of what he or she wants to do as a career. Otherwise, grad school, where you would enter a highly specific field of study, isn’t worth it. While you can get away with focusing on gaining a more general set of skills while you earn your bachelor’s degree, a graduate student should have a clearer idea of their long-term goals.
Another factor, the obvious decision-maker for many students, is your personal financial situation. If your undergraduate studies have already put you in a lot of debt and you don’t have the ability to consider paying for grad school out of pocket, it may be best to take a few years off, earn some money– even if you have to work in a less skilled position for a little while– and pay off some of the debt you’ve already accumulated.
Apart from your career, it’s also important to look at your own goals in life, such as having a family. If being in school for longer or putting off starting your career would be harmful to these goals, this is also something to consider.
Whatever you decide to do after you graduate, it’s best to start your preparations as soon as possible, whether this means studying for your GRE’s and asking professors for letters of recommendation, or brushing up your resume and your LinkedIn page.