“Graduate school can mean many things,” Pierre Huguet, CEO of the H&C Education admissions consulting firm, wrote in an email. “There’s a big difference between starting an M.S. or M.A. program, going to law or business school and embarking on the five- to seven-year journey that is a Ph.D.”

“If you want to be a doctor or a lawyer, for example, you will need to continue your education past college,” says Huguet. “Additionally, certain post-graduate programs, such as MBAs, often provide students with important networking opportunities that can be as important professionally as the education students receive at business school. If you want to go into academia or conduct advanced research, you will most likely need a Ph.D.”