Graduate Schools

Pursing Your Master's Degree with Graduate Schools

You’ve just spent four years obtaining a bachelor’s degree at the university of your choice. You studied hard and made good grades. Well, okay, there was that biology final exam... But you managed to make a good showing, regardless of how much attending classes and studying for exams cut into your social life. You nobly opted out of that fraternity party because you had an economics mid-term the next day. You used Dad’s check to buy a new dictionary rather than a six-pack. What else could you have done to successfully complete your undergraduate degree so you’d be eligible to grace various job interviews with your scholastically-adept presence?

Then, to your dismay, reality makes an abrupt appearance in your life. It usually emerges when you take a look at the “want ads” in the newspaper; prospective employers want to see your resume that includes your field and degree of post-graduate study. Or, worse, you attend a job interview and your eyes fly open when your potential employer asks where you completed graduate school.

Say what? Your undergraduate degree is in Accounting, but your interviewer wants to know when you plan to finish your MBA. Your English degree provided you with a well-rounded classical education; why didn’t you get the job at the newspaper writing investigative feature copy? That Physics degree; why aren’t you competitive for the designing job with the Army Corps of Engineers?

Here’s where the reality of the working world hits you right between the eyes: if you want to compete for high-paying careers in your future, you’d better have more than that B.A. or B.S. up your sleeve. Graduation with honors in Political Science won’t get you into law school; there’s that little matter of the LSAT you have to pass. Nor will your degree in Chemistry land you an industrial engineering job. Time to face facts: in today’s world, lucrative careers with opportunities for advancement in your future absolutely require a graduate degree; a Master’s degree or even a Ph.D. Your undergraduate degree will get you into graduate school, and that’s about all it’s good for unless you have little ambition for a long-term, well-paying career. This is an important distinction to remember: an undergraduate degree will most likely land you a job. But to have a career, a post-graduate degree is absolutely essential.

Now that you’re on speaking terms with reality, it’s time to think seriously about your future. What kind of career suits your interests and your abilities? To enjoy your work, you must be stimulated and challenged by it. Otherwise, forgo graduate school and go to work for a bank where your routine never varies. The field of study that you select for your post-graduate degree should be in an area that will hold your interest in the long-term, and that offers challenges and advancement as your experience grows. Consider: you took your B.A. in English, and then took your M.A. in Philosophy. What exactly are you planning to do with that Master’s degree? Being very well-educated in Philosophy really doesn’t pay the mortgage or send the kids to summer camp.

Graduate schools are where you can take your basic knowledge, acquired through undergraduate study, and specialize in a narrower career-oriented field. Good, take your undergraduate degree in Social Sciences. Using this as a building-block, you can then acquire your Master’s degree in Social Work, which opens the door for you to specialize in clinical psychotherapy, administrative social service planning, or social agency management.

This is how things work. It’s best to learn this lesson now, instead of during that uncomfortable job interview. Your undergraduate degree will be complete next year; start thinking about graduate school today!

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