8 Common Myths About Grad School
Myth 1: You have to choose the same major you had in undergrad
That’s the beauty of grad school. You can choose to further your education in what you studied in undergrad, or choose an entirely new major. You can choose something to compliment your existing degree or use this as an opportunity to change career paths. The possibilities are almost endless.
Myth 2: You automatically get paid more for getting a master’s degree
Some students assume a higher degree automatically qualifies you for higher pay. This isn’t necessarily true. While most companies acknowledge your higher degree, your pay is also determined by your skills, your fit within the company, and how much of an asset you will be to the company. Don’t expect your graduate degree to be the end-all-be-all to a larger cash flow. Education isn’t an automatic substitute for experience.
Myth 3: You’ll immediately get a job after graduating because you have a master’s degree
While it’s nice to dream of instant success and a secure future, a job isn’t promised at the end of your graduate journey. If you’ve been networking, interning, and building the necessary skills for your career, chances are you’ll land a job you want, or at least get something in your field. But just obtaining a master’s degree doesn’t guarantee you a job, and it doesn’t mean a company will hire you just because you have one.
Myth 4: It’s better to go right to grad school after undergrad
Not necessarily. It can actually be quite challenging to jump straight into grad school. It’s also very easy to feel burnt out with no break in between getting degrees. Some people feel they need to take a year (or even a few) off before going back to school. It depends how you feel after undergrad and your personal circumstances. While some people do go the direct route straight into grad school, it’s not feasible for everyone.
Myth 5: You should stay at the same school for grad school
Choosing to stay at the same school you got your undergraduate degree at is completely up to you. For most students a few factors come into play. The cost of the school, financial aid, and the length of the program are sometimes driving factors. The type of program and alumni network can also be determining factors for some. All in all, it’s different for everyone.
Myth 6: You have to have to go to grad school to be successful
Your success isn’t based on any number of degrees. It’s all about the effort you make and the path you take…and the connections you make along the way. Grad school can help you gain more knowledge and skills in a specific area of study, but it doesn’t mean you will be more or less successful. Your success is in your own hands, and it’s what you do with the opportunities you get that matters.
Myth 7: Scholarships and financial aid aren’t offered to grad students
Financial aid is offered to students as long as they apply for the necessary government and school programs. It’s important to file the FAFSA (the Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to qualify for any federal aid (including scholarships, grants, and loans). You should also research your school’s financial aid programs to see if you qualify for any institutional scholarships or grants, or if you can apply to any scholarships in your academic department. Many schools use the FAFSA to help determine how aid will be distributed, so filing may be more important than you think.
Myth 8: Classes are easier since some programs are shorter than undergrad
Although you’re spending half or maybe a quarter of the time in grad school compared to undergrad, that doesn’t mean the work will be easy. Since classes are all concentrated on your major, you can expect the work to be more in-depth and more challenging. Professors also expect you to be at a higher maturity level to handle the course load.