Q. I’m a halfway into the first semester of my senior year and wondering if I should proceed to get a master’s degree upon graduation, accept a full-time job that I’m told is going to be offered at the end of my internship or try to do both. What’s your advice? –JB
A. Congratulations on the pending full-time job offer. I normally encourage students to pursue a graduate degree if they are missing something in their current skillset that can be enhanced through additional academic training. But it sounds like your career is getting off to a great start. In your case, I’d recommend two possibilities:
1. Get a year or two of experience. Then pursue graduate studies in an area of interest that will help advance your career. A major benefit of this approach comes from the fact that many corporations and agencies will help pay for part of your advanced degree. Plus, in a few years, you’ll know if this career path is the one you want to pursue long-term. If not, pursue the master’s degree that will help you pivot to another career.
2. Since you’re still an undergrad, you also might want to determine if your university offers a combined degree program that allows you to begin your master’s degree during your senior year. Students at DePaul University are finding that its relatively new combined degree program allows them to cut up to a year off a master’s degree, which results in a huge cost savings. Also, many universities offer significant discounts for students opting for double degrees.