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Should You Go To College After You Finish University?

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When you’ve finished university, it can be tough to decide where to turn next.

There are a lot of paths out there, but limiting yourself to just one can make you feel panicky or overwhelmed.

Many recent graduates overlook the merits of a college program, convinced that more school just isn’t what they want to be doing.

Here’s a quick breakdown of some factors recent grads overlook when considering a college education.

Money, money, money!

For many university students, paying off student debt is a daunting task, and the thought of having to take on the added cost of post-graduate education is less than desirable. The upside of a post-graduate diploma from a college is that it comes at a fraction of the cost of a master’s degree.

Time

If you’ve already been in university for four or five years, what’s another two semesters? The public relations program I enrolled in after university was only eight months long, plus an internship. Other post-grad diplomas are two years.

I know that you’ve already been out of the work force for at least four years and want to start making money as soon as possible, but while you’re already in study/education mode, stick with it for just a little longer – the payoff can be huge!

I believe the career you will find yourself in will be far superior after another year of practical education than if you started your job search immediately following university….here’s why:

Practical, hands-on, industry-specific learning

Most university programs are quite theoretical in nature. While university taught me many things, including discipline, time-management, organization, study skills, teamwork and management skills, I left feeling like I was somewhat knowledgeable in many areas of business, but not an expert in any particular one. I knew a lot about the field from a theoretical standpoint, but couldn’t necessarily apply my knowledge practically.

You might feel the same way about the program you are enrolled in, and that’s OK. University allows you to get a sampling of many different areas of study.

College is great for allowing you to pick your favourite industry, area of business, etc., and refine your skill and knowledge of this specific field. You spend much more time in the classroom – I’d say twice as much – and about half the time you’re used to buried in books and personal study.

You are taught by experts in the field who teach you lessons based on real-life examples they are dealing with at their other place of employment. In my case, I not only learned what PR was, but how to be an excellent PR practitioner. This industry-specific learning included writing labs, case studies, social media and web-development classes, group projects, guest lectures and panels, which all contributed to me leaving the program feeling confident that I could excel in my first PR job.

I knew that my boss could ask me to write a press release, help plan a press conference, conduct daily media monitoring or help develop a communications plan and I’d be able to do so effectively.

Internship

Perhaps the most valuable part of a post-graduate diploma is the internship component. It’s during your internship that you get to apply your newly-acquired skills, network with professionals in your industry, be mentored, have the chance to be hired full-time, and gain awesome references for your job search once the internship is completed.

Now, I don’t want you to write-off pursuing a master’s degree. It’s an incredibly valuable learning experience, too. Certain programs can also be quite practical and have internship components. If you want to pursue further education in a field such as history or theology, for example, a master’s is certainly the way to go. There are professions where you simply can’t progress in that field unless you have a master’s.

Choosing the right educational path takes a lot of thought.  Not every master’s program is right for you and not every post-grad diploma is right for you, so do your research.

I’m a huge supporter of post-graduate education and college is far too often written off as an option. If you want to learn more about my invaluable post-grad experience, feel free to leave a comment or contact me directly!

By Rachel McKee, TalentEgg.ca

TalentEgg.ca is Canada’s leading job board and online career resource for college and university students and recent graduates.

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