Let me start by saying I’m a first-generation college student, and I didn’t even understand much about graduate school until the end of my sophomore year. I never had an inclination toward it anyway.

But knowing what I know now about graduate school, I still don’t lean toward going. It’s not that I view it as a place only for people with money — although it does cost a lot — or that I’m “too good” for grad school.

The simple fact of the matter is my major, and jobs that may follow, is better learned through first-hand experience than it is going to school for additional time. Plus, I’ll have the chance to be making money instead of shoveling more money out.

Business, education, and medical sciences accounted for 43 percent of all graduate applications in 2014, according to the Council of Graduate Schools, a national advocate organization for graduate education.

That same organization gathers its own enrollment data and pairs it with data from the U.S. Department of Education's Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) to get an annual picture of graduate enrollment for every state. According to its survey, 21,131 students enrolled in Washington’s graduate schools this year. It’s pretty evenly distributed between the sexes as well, with females accounting for 55 percent of that enrollment.

Clearly, there are reasons to go to grad school, and some jobs are even willing to pay for that schooling entirely if you ask them. But if graduate school won’t be a secondary, alternate universe to your degree (like law school, medical school, or teaching programs), and instead could be almost repetitive, you might as well skip it, at least for now.

My major is journalism, and I currently have a minor in law, societies and justice. Who knows, maybe at one point I’ll go to grad school for law down the road, if that’s a path I decide to take. But for now, my route is journalism, so grad school just doesn’t make as much sense.

Reach writer Kelsey Hamlin at specials@dailyuw.com. Twitter: @ItsKelseyHamlin

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