Is grad school really not worth it?

I know the general consensus is that if you majored in Journalism in college, getting a master’s degree in Journalism right away is probably a waste and you should be out there working and interning instead. But, what if  you have experience in the industry and would still like to go back to school. Do the rules change?

To be honest, I don’t feel like my B.A. in Journalism really means much. It was heavily newspaper-based and there was only one magazine course as well as one online course that taught me the basics. I’ve worked mostly as a web editor so my experience taught me all that I needed to know. However, I have no clue about videos, podcasts and I know only the basics of Photoshop and photo editing for the web. I realize I can learn all this through work experience or just by fiddling on my own, but somehow a grad degree seems worth it. Not to mention, the networking could be worth it.

I’ve mentioned before that if I do apply, it will only be to CUNY grad school because of the cheap tuition. Although my parents would be more than willing to pay for my grad degree (to immigrant parents, you are nothing without a bunch of diplomas, especially in this day and age when a Bachelor’s degree is easily attainable), but I don’t want to do that to them.

I’m still worried about what my next step is going to be after this job ends next month. Freelancing full-time is definitely the game plan but how successful will I be at that? From what I’m experiencing, it takes time to be a successful freelance writer/editor, so what do I do in the meantime?

So, I plan to study for my GRE’s and apply for grad programs in journalism as well as creative writing and literature for Fall 2010. If by then, my career takes a turn for the better, I can always not go back to school.

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3 thoughts on “Is grad school really not worth it?

  1. All of the top editors/professionals I know do NOT have a grad degree, nor do they need one. Their success is attributed to hard work, and more so, networking. It’s all about who you know.

    I’d suggest taking a few non-matriculated classes on your specific interests. No point in paying for fluff classes you don’t really need or want. It’ll look great on your resume and you’ll have time to work on clips and furthering your career.

    BTW, CUNY isn’t as horrible as you might think. Most professors are adjuncts and also work at top schools. For the most part, students are getting a great education for a fraction of the cost. And no, I don’t work for CUNY. 🙂

    Good luck!

  2. I listen to several tech podcasts, and since they’re all journalists, the topic of whether or not to go for the MA has come up several times. I think one of the big arguments against it is that journalism is in such a flux state right now and I don’t know if the journalism schools have really adjusted yet. You have the right attitude, though, keeping your options open.

    I also listen to a lot of writing podcasts, and whether or not to get an MFA often comes up. Opinions on this one seem to vary much more widely.

    In my field, I have to get the degree, because I need the education and the credentials in order to teach. You don’t have to have those in journalism or creative writing, but if it’s something you want to do, then I would totally do it. If nothing else, it will give you an opportunity to work on your craft and learn from others.

  3. Hi Anon,

    You are totally right! CUNY is great and I actually wish I had gone there for undergrad instead of taking on massive loans from a private school, which wasn’t much better than CUNY anyway!

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