We've been talking a lot about grad school lately. Once again, I turned to our Intern Queen Ambassador Alumni, Laura Monroe, to ask her about her experiences. I asked her how/why she knew grad school was right for her. This is what she had to say:
1. More time. I have to be honest. One of the main reasons I decided to apply for graduate school was that I wasn't ready to venture into the real world. I had a great resume, competitive GPA, and had made connections that probably would have been helpful in the job hunt. However, I wanted to take some time to improve those things without taking the mythical "year off." I found a one year program that will allow me to make more connections and explore my options after school, all while earning a masters degree.
2. The sooner the better. You know what they say. If you're thinking you might go back to school after you graduate, it's much easier to do it right away than it is later. It's not impossible. People do it all the time. However, I guarantee that they would advise you to get your second degree as soon as you can. It won't be a difficult transition. Plus, you won't have as many responsibilities- job, family, etc- to worry about if you tackle that next degree right after your receive your first.
3. Another resume builder. It's true that not all jobs that you apply for will look for a masters degree on your resume. Yet, having one is just another way an applicant can stand out from the hundreds of others that apply. I wanted that edge. I wanted to be more than just the average applicant.
4. Expanded knowledge of the field. Undergraduate courses prepare you for the field you hope to enter, but graduate studies are able to expand your knowledge extensively. With smaller classes, students are really able to engage with their classmates and professors. With more intense and in-depth coursework, they learn more about the ins and outs of their field. My program has given me more tools to add to my toolkit, so to speak.
5. The freedom to study what interests me. Graduate studies often give students some freedom to choose their coursework. Yes, there will be requirements that all students must adhere to, just as there are in undergraduate programs. However, graduate students are urged to study what they find interesting and explore areas in their field that intrigue them. Their thesis is something that is entirely theirs. In my community journalism class, for example, I was asked to choose a problem in the community that I cared about. That problem will help me to study theories of mass communication and the ways that they affect the community. It will be the topic of the website I will build in my media production course. It is something I am passionate about, which makes the coursework more interesting.