Written by: Dr. Twyla Cummings, Dean Graduate Education and Professor and Bella Dunwoody, Communication & Content Specialist
If you’re thinking about graduate school as you plan your future career goals, you may want to focus on the following key areas.
Making the Decision to Attend Graduate School
There are many reasons people decide to further their studies by completing a graduate degree. Here are some benefits to consider when thinking about a graduate program.
Graduate programs offer opportunities for extended and continued learning in areas of interest to you.
The advanced degree you receive is a highly regarded credential to future employers.
Working with faculty on the leading edge of discovery gives you the opportunity for in-depth research.
Graduate degrees lead to greater earning potential.
A terminal-level degree is often required if you are in pursuit of an academic career.
Employers are increasing educational requirements.
Preparing to Get Into Graduate School
It’s important to know what universities and graduate programs require as you plan to apply for graduate school. Do your research and know what you are getting into. Begin with these tips.
Start with the career goal you have in mind and work your way backwards.
Research the programs you are interested in along with requirements.
Personally connect with program directors who are in fields where you have an interest.
Ensuring Success in Graduate School
Once you have matriculated into a graduate program it’s time to focus on a successful degree completion process. Personally framing what it will take for you to be successful is an equally important part of the process. Below are some thoughts that might help.
Remember that this is not undergraduate school.
Know that faculty expectations are high and academic integrity is critical – plagiarism is not OK.
Make the best of your time. The duration is often shorter than undergraduate school with more work – don’t make it any longer than necessary.
Sharpen your writing skills. Work that was acceptable in undergraduate school – not so much in graduate school! Good writing is critical.
Enjoy, but manage your freedom. A lot of your work will be done independently, for example, working on a capstone project, research, thesis, or dissertation.
As you head towards your future, keep in mind the personal benefits a graduate degree will afford you. Although there will be inherent differences from your undergrad experience, with proper preparation you can take this next step to reach your ultimate career goals.