Do you know if your chosen career will pay enough to allow you to pay off your loans?

If you can’t make your loan payments when you get out, you shouldn’t go to graduate school, Gobel says.

“Don’t take out $100,000 to become a counselor making $40,000 a year. Think about your salary before you take on that loan,” she says.

Thankfully the decision is not always "grad school vs. no grad school." It’s often "cheaper grad school vs. more expensive grad school."

“You don’t necessarily have to give up your dream, you just have to spend less. Look for scholarships, or look to a different school," Gobel says.

Unfortunately, the “dirty underside” to graduate school is that people who take on large loans often find they don’t have the ability to pursue their chosen field, Kamen says.

“You become so saddled that many times you take on a second job or you wind up taking a job in a totally different field because you can’t make enough money. Think about it. You’re fiscally unable to pursue your career of choice because there’s no chance that career will give you a return on your investment,” he warns.

Also, before you pursue your degree, look at saturation in the field.

“You might think the biz world is waiting for another MBA, but don’t test that thesis until you spend a year or two in the workforce. It may be that people who excel in your particular field don’t have college degrees, let alone post-graduate degrees,” Kamen says.

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