College graduation is quickly approaching. Before the date snuck up on seniors, they were all encouraged to visit career services to figure out life after college. Campus student surveys of 2012-2016 showed an average of 30% of people planned to go on to graduate schools, including Saint Leo University. Graduate school refers to a school that awards advanced academic degrees such as masters and doctoral degrees.
Entering a graduate program will affect one’s life for the next few years. It should not be taken as a joke. There are many pros and cons of grad school, the experience is life changing financially, mentally and emotionally.
Some benefits of graduate school include advancing your career, enhancing your education, switching fields, and getting the recognition you deserve. Along with the positives comes the negative. Grad school is competitive, expensive, doesn’t guarantee a higher salary and can be the result of you being overqualified for a job you may have once been perfect for.
Career Services advisors, Nancy Cheek, Meagan Jones, and Julia Ruddock, have been working hard to prepare seniors for their big day. In an interview with Nancy Cheek, she was quite informative on what students should know and do before graduation.
Early in their senior year, Cheek advised students to visit the career office or work with a career advisor. The job of a career advisor is to provide information and guidance to students concerning education and work. This guidance allows students to develop ideas for future job choices. Additionally, they would prepare for what to expect in the real world. Cheek also advised they research companies to get a realistic view of what the workforce has to offer. Along with this, they should prepare to brand themselves for appropriate job positions. Doing this would help them be more organized when presenting themselves to companies.
The question was proposed, “Should students work directly after graduation or go to graduate school?” Cheek stated, “If a graduate degree is a requirement for a specific job you are pursuing, then yes.” To sum it up, only go to grad school if it is a requirement in your job field. She gave the example of psychology majors. If someone in that major wanted to be a Social Worker, they must obtain a master’s degree. Therefore, they would need to continue schooling.
Along with this, job experience is more important than it seems. Cheek spoke about getting a part-time job to put you in the environment where you need to be. She used the example of business majors. She stated, “don’t go on directly for an MBA unless you are gaining work experience in the process. It is important to have practical experience as well as education in certain industries. Continuing to gain degrees with no practical experience does not make you a more qualified candidate, and you may still be considered an entry-level candidate.” Different majors have different requirements.
The most important part of life after college is having a “healthy balance of education and experience,” Nancy stated. She spoke about the importance of having one’s skill set growing in the workforce. Although education is essential, being overeducated could also be a factor. Never focus too much on getting high-level degrees with no experience in the workforce. Employers would deny you even if you’re extremely educated just because you have no experience. Having no practical knowledge could work against you. Putting yourself in that work environment not only builds your resume but helps brand you for being a professional in that particular field.
Graduate school is not a route everyone chooses for personal reasons. Jared Roy, a senior student, is currently working, saving money to attend graduate school in the upcoming Fall semester. Similarly, another senior, Hector Vasquez is presently working on expanding his business. Lastly, Myia Lynn stated she’s currently working. A break from school is well needed, and if she were to go back, she would entirely focus on school.
As previously stated, graduate school is not a route everyone chooses to take. People’s opinions of furthering their education are entirely different based on their majors and job fields. If it is not necessary, do not go. Time can be put into something else more beneficial. If the positives outweigh the negatives, go!