During the job search process, should you disclose to your potential employer that you plan on returning to school?

Taking time away to pursue opportunities in the workforce between school experiences can be incredibly beneficial for a multitude of reasons. If you are curious of what those reasons might be, check out the Gap Year and Short-Term Opportunities resource.

Now, if you have already decided to go this route, the question then becomes, “Should I disclose this information to an employer?”

As with most things in life surrounding decision-making, it depends!

Things to consider before disclosing to your potential employers your future education plans:

What is the general expectation of the employer?

Some employers–depending on the industry–regularly experience high amounts of turnover as they deal with contract work or offer specific, one-year programs for people explicitly taking a gap year. Additionally, entry-level positions or positions that require minimal experience may need less commitment, education, or credentials; thus, the employer may be more understanding of short-term arrangements or, fully expect it.

These positions are sometimes seasonal, or they provide necessary skills for building your resume quickly as well as offer insight into your industry of choice. Please note, experiences and difficulty of these opportunities may differ depending on location, necessary training, and other variables.

Employers may also be looking to hire candidates to grow within the company and make a commitment for several years. While it can be enticing to seek out employment in high-paying fields or with larger, more popular organizations, doing so may result in fracturing a relationship with an employer for yourself and/or for others from your school.

Ultimately, deciding not to disclose your future graduate or professional school plans is still an acceptable pathway; however, it is one that should be approached cautiously and may require a little more tact in the interview and hiring process.

What does the employer know about you thus far?

When interviewing or during the hiring process, it is important to think about what information the employer knows already based on all of the documentation you have given them. Sometimes, your outlined goals, resume, or even your cover letter may indicate that you hope to pursue any or all professional growth opportunities made available to you, including graduate or professional school.

What are you hoping to gain from employment?

Sometimes the answer to this question can guide you to making a decision about the next step in your journey. If you are looking for a chance to take a breather between your education, for a year, or multiple years, make sure the companies you are looking at align with your goals for this time period.

When asking this question, think about:

Additional responsibilities while working (applications, childcare, other major life events, obtaining, additional certifications, etc.)

-The pace or operation schedule of the organization. Is it fast-paced? Does it require long, non-traditional hours?

-The benefits package offered by the potential employer.

What is my personal timeline?

Timelines are personal matters that can be dependent upon individual short-term, or long-term goals. A person’s timeline may also take into consideration finances, family, or work eligibility to name a few other possibilities. Whatever the variables impacting your timeline may be, it is important that your timeline be unique to you and not dependent upon the situations, achievements, and timelines of others. Treating your timeline as a personal matter allows you to adapt and evolve based on your present and future needs, rather than attempting to fit someone else’s career timeline into your own.


Always default on the side of transparency. In the interview and hiring process, it is important to build a relationship with the hiring manager and share pertinent details about your interests and career goals. The more transparent you can be about your intentions for work, the better it will be if you decide to disclose your intention to pursue further education. You will always interview better when presenting your authentic self.

Final Thoughts

The decision is ultimately yours on whether or not to disclose this information to an employer. However, as stated earlier, be mindful that the decision you make has implications for your future and maybe the future of others. Keep in mind your goals and values as well as the organization’s expectations; utilize the advice from alumni and career advisors to help decide

Being transparent with the employer and building a strong relationship may allow for future employment connections and perhaps even a valuable recommendation for any further career or education aspirations. Moreover, being mindful of the employer’s commitment to you acknowledges the respect you have for their business and the work they are doing. Ultimately, this can help open doors for others who may find themselves in your situation later.

Additional Resources and Perspectives:

Are you Planning to Continue your Studies?

How to Tell Your Company You’re Going Back to School