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Aarron Sholar
Noodle Expert Member

March 20, 2020

Undergrad, graduate school, careers, jobs-- there are all sorts of options to pursue after high school, so you don't necessarily have to do what everyone else is doing.

By the time you graduate from high school, you often want to have an idea of what to do next. Most students would probably pursue some sort of college or trade school, some students may skip college and go into the workforce, and some may try out college and realize it's not really for them. Although high schools push college onto their graduates, you don't have to do exactly what the school system wants you to-- you can decide what's wright for you. reports that in America, most States have around an 80-88 high school graduation percentage, and approximately two-thirds of graduates enroll in college within a year after their high school graduation. I interviewed Valeria Davis, a young adult who attended college briefly before dropping out. Davis states that she often feels unsure of her decision to quit school, and she isn't sure if this decision helped or hindered her. She told me that some days she wants to go back to school, but she still has success with jobs and earning an income.

As of 2019, 13.1 percent of American adults have a degree higher than a Bachelor's, and this amount has actually doubled from 2000. With the number of adults pursuing higher education past undergraduate college, how do you know if you're making the right decision in doing the same? I interviewed a current grad student at Salisbury University on his opinions of the helpfulness of grad school. Logan Wilson, who is pursuing a career as a secondary education teacher, states that "the decision to go to grad school really depends on your intended career path," as Wilson would eventually need a Master's degree to become a teacher. He explains that he feels having a higher degree "puts [him] at a certain advantage," especially since he gained experience as a teaching assistant. Furthermore, Wilson says that grad school "expands and dives deeper into the same material" from undergrad; "it solidifies you as both a scholar in the field as well as developing yourself as a critical and analytical thinker." Wilson felt he couldn't comment on if grad school necessarily gets students better jobs, but he finishes by saying that "if I wasn't trying to teach, then I don't think my degree would be as helpful in finding a job." Overall, grad school can be pretty helpful for certain fields, but it's not one hundred percent necessary-- in the end, it's up to your own judgement.

Ruthie Davis went beyond her Bachelor's degree and earned herself a Master's. Davis would later become a third grade teacher, so she states that she needed the higher degree to do just that. Davis told me that she wished she had gone on and gotten her PhD, but financial restraints prevented this. Davis also agreed that going to grad school entirely depends on what field you want to go into. As a final comment, Davis made an important note to students to "be strategic in choosing a school that doesn't leave them debt burdened." She explained that in her case, "as a teacher, you get paid the same and it doesn't matter if your degree came from po-dunk university or Harvard--" do what is best for the future you want.

All-in-all, your options are up to you. Grad school and higher education can be beneficial for some career fields, but other students may not need anymore classes or degrees to get into their field or find work. I'm planning to go to grad school to eventually go into literary editing and publishing, yet my sister only wants to attend community college for an Associate's Degree in baking. There are all kinds of paths for all kinds of people, and it's just a matter of weighing your options and thinking thoroughly about what will suit you best.

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