After graduation, UI students indecisive of attending graduate school

The Clash said it the best – “Should I stay, or should I go?”

College students are asking themselves the same question, should they stay in school for a higher degree, or should they hit the job market?

“The job market is pretty bad,” said Ken Brennan, senior in LAS.

Brennan said he is applying to graduate school to fall back on if he doesn’t get a job after graduation.

“Hopefully, it will recover by the time I get out [of grad school],” he said.

Brennan is not alone in his sentiment about going to grad school to avoid the job market.

Rob Ealy said he went to graduate school because, “In this tough economic climate it seemed like a good idea.”

While grad school may seem an option, some university officials advise caution.

“Attending graduate school to avoid the job market is not an ideal strategy,” said Bernadette So, assistant director of Health Professions & Graduate School Information.

“As budgets get tighter, the number of available spaces in graduate programs tend to get smaller.”

“So admissions can be more competitive,” she added.

She said one should weigh the benefits and drawbacks before jumping into a heavy financial expense.

“Pursuing a graduate or professional degree can be a good option if it is a way to prepare for specific careers,” So said.

One of those careers is engineering.

Sarah Anderson, graduate student, said she was getting her graduate degree because it was needed to be an engineer and pass the Fundamentals of Engineering exam to get her engineering license.

However, she said that her classes have had more students since the economy worsened.

Before rushing off to apply for graduate school, some suggest applying for jobs also.

“Some employers favor bachelor’s degree hires,” So said.

“[Individuals with bachelor’s] have a broader education.”

She added that employees are preferred to “build years of work experience rather than years of additional education.”

For those set on putting themselves ahead of the bunch, So reminded them there are plenty of additional education options available.

She also said some colleges and universities will allow bachelor’s degree recipients to take additional coursework as non-degree seeking students, and certificate programs may be another option.