Advanced degrees growing in popularity

Many college grads are continuing their educations after earning bachelor’s degrees. As of 2016, 28.5 per cent of Canadians had a bachelor’s degree or higher, says Statistics Canada.

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center says enrolment in graduate programs continues to grow. It rose 3.6 per cent in fall 2020 from a year earlier, and 4.4 per cent during the spring 2021 semester, perhaps spurred on by the global pandemic and schools’ more flexible course offerings that cater to remote students.

Despite their growing popularity, advanced degrees do not always translate into higher salaries or improved job prospects. The research site Educationdata.org says about nine per cent of Americans have master’s degrees, but the degrees increased employability by less than three per cent. Furthermore, the cost of a master’s degree nearly doubles the average debt held by people with bachelor’s degrees, according to the personal finance marketplace Credible.

In addition, certain business owners may even pass up on applicants with advanced degrees because the students had been in school too long or tended to assume their degrees make them worth more, according to a report by Fox Business. That report indicates less than 10 per cent of employers believe colleges do a good job of preparing students for the working world, and many employers value applicants who prioritize real-world experience over schooling. This is information students need to consider when thinking about pursuing advanced degrees.

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