This really depends on the individual, the profession they’re going into, their personal circumstances and preferences, etc. In some professions, a graduate or professional degree is required to just get a job or to significantly improve your chances of getting a job or a better job. It’s often expected that individuals interested in engineering or science will go straight to graduate school. In other fields, like business or education, it may be more typical that someone goes right into the job market.
If you’re not sure if you will be able to or will want to come back to school later, it may be best to go straight into graduate school. For instance, if you go into the job market, begin earning a nice salary, get married, and/or have children, you may not be able to afford to go back to graduate school later. Or, you may not be willing to back to a student’s lifestyle where money is tight.
On the other hand, if you need to gain experience to be competitive when applying to graduate school, such as if you want to go for an MBA, it’s better to work first and then go back to school. Some employers will also help pay for a graduate degree through tuition reimbursement programs. When you’re interviewing for jobs and get far enough in the selection process where it’s appropriate to discuss benefits, ask if a potential employer has such a program.
For instance, I know a Master’s student in engineering here who is being paid by her employer at her salary to earn her Master’s degree here. In addition, she gets to keep most of her benefits while she’s in school. This is probably the best of both worlds; however, she had to apply to a very competitive professional development program at her employer and get selected to the program. I think she also has to stay with her employer for a certain number of years after she earns her Master’s degree.
If you’re simply burned out by the time you get your Bachelor’s degree, it may be better to take some time off before going back to school, since graduate school is very intense and requires a lot of hard work.
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