I’ve heard of many students who are confused regarding the opinions about attending the same school for both undergraduate and graduate studies. Employers are all different, and some might be looking for a more diverse education in your background, but some employers might be looking for longevity in your background. Here are some pros and cons to attending the same school for undergraduate and graduate school. Some of these pros and cons might weigh more to you than others will in this list, but knowing that students are also different, make this decision based on what will be best for you and your education.
You probably already know the people you’ll work with in your program.
Knowing the faculty, staff, and even students who you’ll work closely with is an advantage in applying for grad school at the same institution you completed your undergraduate degree. As you approach senior year and take your major’s classes, you will begin to recognize, communicate with, and befriend many of the same people each semester. These relationships that you’ll begin to form will become comfortable, and it makes sense to stay in an environment where you have learned how to work with specific professors and students.
In the long run, your stress about it now won’t seem necessary.
If you think about it, you’re going to graduate school. That (and doing well in graduate school) is all many employers can ask you to do. If your ultimate goal is to obtain a graduate degree and you are motivated to take on another 3–5 years of school, then that’s what matters. If you decide to stay at the same school for your undergraduate and graduate careers, do your best to learn as much as you can from as many people as you can. Meeting new people and making new connections will get you well on your way to gaining networking skills.
You could extend your research experience.
You might be seriously considering attending graduate school at the same institution where you are earning your undergraduate degree because of some work that you have achieved in your undergraduate degree. If you are like some undergraduate students, you have started a research project with certain professors or other faculty members. It wouldn’t make sense to stop in the middle of your research just to experience something different at another school. Whether you work in a lab, research with professors, or conduct a study with other students, you will want to continue that work because of the valuable experience that you have already gained.
The graduate program might misunderstand your intentions.
Depending on your involvement in your undergraduate program, the staff in graduate admissions might view your application in a negative light. They could think that you are taking the easy route through grad school, avoiding a move into another city or state, or escaping potential rejections from other grad schools. In fact, some grad programs will not even take their undergraduate students in their program because they want to promote diversity in thinking. Also, some graduate programs won’t hire their own graduate students as faculty, so keep that in mind for jobs while in school. However, if you decide to go on to another program at another school where you might learn more, your intentions will be clear because both programs will understand that you want to gain a more diverse background — which brings me to my next con.
You might not become as diverse a student as others would prefer.
If you decide to continue your graduate education at the same institution that you earned your undergraduate degree, you will only be learning from the same teachers in the same environment. In the pro section of this post, I stated that it’s a good thing to be comfortable with the people you’ll work with throughout your graduate education, but there will probably come a time when you need to expand your thinking and experiences. It’s a great idea to investigate similar programs at other grad schools so that you can expand your knowledge about your field rather than limit it to the people you know in your comfort zone. Thank you for reading this blog post, and I hope it helps you start your own pro/con list of whether or not you should apply for graduate school at the same place you received your undergraduate degree. Remember that no two students are alike, so what might keep one student at the same school might push you away from that school. It all depends on your personality and learning style. If you want to know more about undergraduate school, read Tara Kuther’s article about this decision. Good luck!