As a junior in college, I have crossed the threshold from “You have all the time in the world!” into “What are you going to do after you graduate?”, and the scary truth is I’m not entirely sure yet. But I know that I’m not alone in this. A lot of people have a plan that involves joining the workforce immediately after college, and those people have a little more time before they really have to start making decisions. But for me and a lot of other students, graduate school is on the horizon. And we have to start thinking about that NOW. But how do you know where to start?
I promise this post is not all doom and gloom. But I want to make it clear that it’s okay to be worried and scared! It’s natural, just like how scared we were when making the transition from high school to college. The cure for the fear is to get prepared and use your resources. And - as always - the Career Center is here to save the day! That’s right, we don’t just do careers, we also have services to get students ready for graduate school! So if you’re even vaguely considering continuing your education post-graduation, check out these tools:
Maybe you’re not even sure if you should go to graduate school. As a psychology major, it is essential that I go to graduate school and gain a more specialized degree so that I have the qualifications to work with target populations in a clinical setting. But, there are different types of graduate degrees! Do you want a master’s, doctorate, or professional degree? To better weigh your options, look over this page: “Is Graduate School the Best Option?”
If you plan on seeking a graduate degree but you’re unsure about your desired field, it’s important to decide what is best for YOU. Just like searching for a undergraduate program, finding the right graduate program involves many different factors including research opportunities, the possibility of relocation, and job search support available at those institutions. This page about Selecting the Best Graduate Program for You includes several links to other great websites to help you investigate what programs are out there and what they have to offer.
A very reasonable concern you may have is How to Fund Your Graduate Education. This would be a main reason for students to take a gap year, so they can accrue funds for further education. Many employers will even reimburse your graduate expenses if your degree is in a related field. Other programs like AmeriCorps or Teach for America will help fund your advanced degree after a certain amount of service. Within the graduate institution, you can also gain an assistantship which could help with expenses as well as provide hands-on experience in your desired field.
If you’re already on your way to the application process, look at this Timeline for Applying to Graduate School to make sure that you’re on the right track and confident about your applications.
I understand that this can be a bit of an information overload. If you feel like hearing people’s real experience and advice instead of reading words on a screen, you should attend the Grad School 101 Conference on October 19th in the Skylight Lounge from 4:45pm - 7:30pm. The event is free and includes dinner, along with several seminars about the application process, personal statements, and entrance exams. You can register for the event here, and as always you can schedule an appointment with a career specialist to get a one-on-one discussion about the best course of action for you. Good luck you guys, and remember: you’re not alone.