Jamaica Observer: Quit job search for grad school?
Published: Tuesday, November 21, 2017 10:52:59 AM

Dear Career Advisor:

Since completing my programme of study a few months ago, I have been unsuccessful in securing a job although I have been very diligent in searching. Even so, I feel like I am at a crossroads and I'm not sure what to do, because my recent graduation has re-ignited my desire to do further studies. Should I just apply for grad school and abandon this seemingly futile search for a job?

Yours truly

Mark W 

Dear Mark:

Congratulations on your accomplishment.

The decision as to whether or not you should attend graduate school is one of the most important decisions you will have to make on your career journey. These days, for many people, it seems to be the most natural progression after the completion of their undergraduate degree. However, it is not a decision that should be taken lightly. Therefore, before you download the application form for graduate school, you must ask yourself some pointed questions, the answers to which will guide your decision. These include:

• What are my career goals? Do these goals require the acquisition of graduate degrees?

• Will a graduate degree propel my career entry or advancement?

• Am I willing to make the commitments and sacrifices necessary for the successful completion of a graduate degree?

• Am I sufficiently informed of opportunities for funding a graduate programme at this time?

• Should I attend now, immediately after completing the undergraduate degree or should I wait for a more appropriate time?

• Is my dream to climb the corporate ladder or be involved in academia?

• Are there areas of knowledge for which I have significant interest and curiosity?

• Do I have a strong desire for learning and a passion for academic research?

• Do I have a sense of commitment to tasks?

• Am I self-directed and motivated and find satisfaction in academic rigor?

If you have answered 'yes' to most or all of the foregoing, then graduate studies might be the right choice for you.

Consider carefully your abilities, interests, goals and desires. Honestly assess your strengths and areas needing improvement. Graduate studies will require a significant investment in time and money. Bear in mind also that for some graduate degrees (for example the EMBA) prior work experience is required. In fact, garnering work experience before entering graduate studies allows you to better make the connections between theory and practice and lends to depth of intellectual discussions.

Finally, do your research of the programme and the institution at which the degree is being offered. Talk to people who are in your desired field of study and practice. Explore options for financing your programme. Do a self-check to see if you are really passionate about the area. Ultimately, the decision as to whether or not you pursue a graduate degree is one only you can make. It is a decision that will affect the rest of your life.


Career Advisor



Carolyn Marie Smith is associate vice-president of student services at Northern Caribbean University in Mandeville, Manchester. Submit your questions to her at careeradvisor

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