Is it Best to Wait a Few Years After Earning an Undergraduate Degree to Apply to a Master’s Degree Program?

Is it Best to Wait a Few Years After Earning an Undergraduate Degree to Apply to a Master's Degree Program?A lot of people considering graduate school want to know how many years to wait after earning an undergraduate degree before they should enroll. It’s not always necessary to put off going to graduate school, but there are some benefits to entering the workforce before returning to college. The number one benefit is that some employers will pay for your entire education, and this offer usually comes in exchange for an agreement to stay with the employer after earning the degree.

Getting Real-World Experience

Depending on the company you work for, you may be able to get any degree you choose, or you may be required to get a degree in a subject relevant to your job, such as business or computer science. For example, AT&T offers up to $25,000 for full-time employees to earn a master’s degree, and many businesses offer to pay for employees to earn MBA degrees if they agree to work for the company for a certain number of years.

It’s a little like the deal you make with the military; they pay for your education if you agree to enlist for a specified period of time, usually five years. Waiting before enrolling in graduate school also allows you to get perspective on life that you don’t get from taking classes. It allows you to grow as a person and a professional in your line of work, and if there are any adjustments you need to make to your career or education goals, you will have time to do so.

Waiting to Enroll Vs. Going Right Away

You can wait as long as you want before enrolling in graduate school, but the longer you wait, the less time you will have to pay off your debt and the less time you will have in your career earning the higher salary that comes from a graduate degree. You don’t have to wait at all before enrolling, and if you already know the degree and career that you want, it may be best to enroll right away without taking a break.

The benefits of going straight from an undergraduate program to graduate school are that you will be in the habit of studying all the time, taking exams and sitting through lectures. If your career goal is to go into research, there is no reason to put off going to graduate school, and you most likely won’t be able to find work without at least a master’s degree. If your bachelor’s degree is in a subject like education, English, sociology, philosophy or history, you may also have a hard time finding work without a master’s degree, and many graduates report inadequate earnings in these fields without advanced education.

A graduate degree almost always results in a higher paycheck, but you should do some research into your particular field before enrolling. For example, law school is one of the worst investments you can make these days because it usually costs more than $100,000 and results in underemployment. A PhD is also not always a good choice because it typically takes six to eight years to complete.

Most people can benefit from getting a master’s degree, but your personal circumstances will dictate the best timing for your studies. The number of years to wait after earning an undergraduate degree depends on who is paying for the degree (please see: Cheapest Online College for Master’s Degrees 2014) and how much you can earn with it.