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Should You Go To Graduate School: The Cost Analysis Of Attending Graduate School

(Image courtesy of National Geographic. Image depicts, " The Battle at Gavelines and Elizabeth I at Tilbury (Pastiche. )Elizabeth I and the Spanish Armada, an unsigned painting mistakenly attributed to Nicholas Hilliard, oil on canvas, 121.3 × 284.5 cm (47¾ × 112 in). Held by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries of London. The painting presents a stylized account of the battle of Gravelines between the Spanish Armada and the English fleet,[1] including the beacons, Elizabeth's address at Tilbury, and the battle itself in a single montage on three jointed pieces of fine tabby-weave linen.[2] The smalt used would have once made the sky bright blue but it and other pigments in the work have discolored over time. Mainstream historians consider the red and yellow flags simply Spanish, although some Catalan historians consider them local. Probably created n the early 1600s. Image is from,_por_Nicholas_Hilliard.jpg)

Anyone in graduate school can relate to the following simile: going to Grad School is like learning to swim during the 1588 attempted Spanish Armada invasion of England. You have to navigate rough waters (coursework), belligerent combatants (other applicants to your program), and navies (school) to appease your sovereign (teacher). If you are lucky, a teacher might give you your own Queen Elizabeth I Tilbury Speech. Once you emerge from the battle, you feel prepared for the new world (employment).

Graduate school is not for the faint of heart, but it can mold you into a professional beyond your wildest recognition. I will not lie to you, as there are positives and negatives to anything. Recently, I posted a survey on LinkedIn asking what aspects of graduate school my connections would want to hear most about. The majority wanted to know about the benefits and drawbacks of attending grad school. I hope this piece can clarify if graduate school is the right fit for you.

(Image courtesy of my LinkedIn)


`1. Specialized Knowledge: I have a special place in my heart for my fellow liberal arts majors. My history degree gives me a tapas bar of knowledge that enables me "be a great guest at cocktail parties- my high school English teacher." While being a history major gives a student intrinsic skills like analysis, it lacks the instrumental skills needed for a career outside of law or academics. So, graduate school enabled me to develop a toolset in my career field.

2. Network: When a person is in graduate school, they begin to understand the power of an alumni network. When choosing a school, the potential graduate student can have special access to various C-suites, conferences, and travel opportunities based on the school's location and specialization. For example, my alma mater, the University of Central Florida, is located in Orlando, F.L. Consequently, students studying hospitality can work at the famous hotels, theme parks, and restaurants in the Orlando area. During my time in graduate school, the Carolina alumni network allowed me to be mentored by various C-suite officials across different organizations. When deciding to go to graduate school, please understand that they are both undergrad and graduate alumni who want their school to succeed and will help you.

(Image courtesy of Shutterstock. Image depicts a business woman drawing global structure networking and data exchanges customer connection on dark background)

3. Low Stakes Learning Opportunity: Last year, I wrote a piece about having a bad day. The article described how I created a last-minute presentation deck and made five spelling errors. These spelling errors were easily avoidable. If I had the chance to recheck my work, I would have made sure that they would not appear. Yet, I did not double-check, and I was humiliated. If I had presented this work to a client, I would have been possibly fired. Instead, I got a not-so-stellar grade on the assignment. Graduate school allows you to make mistakes and understand the consequences without losing future opportunities.

(Image courtesy of Media from Wix)


1. Financially burdensome: Graduate school is costly. Its imperative to understand the financial consequences of going to school. Many graduate programs have great resources within the school and financial aid office to help as many students as possible.

(Gif courtesy of Wix)

2. Time consuming: I can encapsulate the amount of time students devote to school: The limit does not exist- Cadey Heron (Mean Girls, 2004). The time commitment for graduate school is similar to chipping away at marble as it needs consistent work.

(Gif courtesy of Wix)


Me on my first day of graduate school

Rachel Huss

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