Although it is hard for some to believe, there is life beyond earning your undergraduate degree and heading out into the workforce. While undergraduate school allowed you to pursue your major in a general study, graduate school is an opportunity for you to explore a more specific area of study through research and teaching. A graduate education is quite different from an undergraduate education. While your undergraduate degree provided you with overview of a broader field of academic research, your graduate degree will allow you to focus on a more specific area of study. A graduate degree program will allow you to further advance your knowledge, skills and research technique in a more in-depth nature, on a topic that you studied during your undergraduate education.
Graduate school demands a lot more of your focus and a sense of self-motivation than what was required of you during your undergrad. Since graduate school assumes that you have acquired superior research skills during your undergraduate education, graduate school will require you to formally present your research, publish papers, and participate in seminars. One skill that you can thus expect to flower during graduate school is your ability to clearly and effectively communicate your ideas to others that posses various levels of knowledge in your area of study.
Everyone has their own reasons for attending graduate school and earning an advanced degree. If you ask 3 different people why they chose to go to grad school, you are likely to hear 3 different answers. Since you have your own reasons for attending graduate school, what you will gain from attending will vary based on your goals and expectations.
Many students who have earned their bachelor degree decide to enter the workforce to gain real-world experience after graduation. Once they have worked for awhile, they are either looking for a promotion with their current company or an advancement in their career. This is when they discover that the upper levels of their field are closed to individuals without an advanced degree. They may also have a sense that their career options are limited by the skills and knowledge that they have acquired from undergraduate school and from their work experience.
Some individuals want to teach at a junior college or university level and therefore need an advanced degree. Also, individuals who want to conduct research must have an advanced degree. And still others want to update their skills and knowledge from that which they earned in their undergraduate education. Some people gain the skills and knowledge from earning their master degree that will allow them to advance in their career and increase their income. Some grad school attendees had a change in interest for a career path and thus decide to pursue an advanced degree to provide them with the skills and knowledge that they will need to pursue this particular path. Finally, others choose to attend grad school as a means to continuing their education.
So which scenario applies to you? In order to really determine what you can expect to gain from grad school, first you will have to evaluate your motivations for going in the first place.