Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Wish I Knew Wednesday

"I wish I had thought about grad school when applying to undergrad and that, especially for my program, it is easier to get into a grad program when you are already in their undergrad program." 
Cole F., 21, St. Johnsbury, Vermont

This is a somewhat difficult concept to advise upon - applying to your undergraduate education focused on your graduate. While it is important to be aware of the long-term goals and expectations in your chosen profession, it is not a necessity that you plan for graduate school as a junior and senior in high school! I do have a few suggestions though.
  • There are certain professions where getting a graduate degree like a Master's or a PhD is inevitable (Education, Psychology, Engineering ... etc.). In these cases, I would definitely be aware of what the universities you are interested in offer for graduate programs and how you go about doing that. This could be as simple as doing a search of "graduate programs," on the university's website. So do a little research on it if you know that a Master's degree will be in your future plans after college. 
  • Some universities offer 5-year programs which is a combination of a Bachelor's and a Master's Degree being completed in 5 years. Typically how this works is you apply for admission to the program as a Senior in high school. If you meet the GPA and test score requirements for the program, then you are admitted and you can complete your Bachelor's degree while maintaining their minimum GPA requirement. Then, in your third or fourth year, you will apply to the graduate phase of the program. The requirements may be more strict, depending on the program and it is a possibility that everyone in your cohort is not accepted, but that is a conversation to have with your Admissions Counselor when you are on campus. 
      • I had no idea about 5-year programs until I began graduate school, but if you are in a field that requires it like Education, a 5-year program may be a positive and smart choice for your education!
  • Your career path and desires could completely change by the time you enter your 2nd year in college, so planning out your graduate school plans before this point would be kind of counter-productive. Choosing a university or a program for the future and for a possibility is not going to help you adjust and enjoy your years as an undergrad student. 
      • If I had chosen a university so that I could get my Master's Degree in teaching while still in high school, I would have wasted all of that time and energy on something that I realized I didn't want to do. There are always options, such as graduating after the Bachelor's degree portion, but it is important to be weary of making a solidified ten-year plan at the age of 17. 
  • Don't feel like you need to attend the same college or university for both your undergraduate and graduate career. While some people do, it also makes you look more well-rounded when you apply for jobs post-graduate school that you were able to adapt well to two different campuses, faculty members, and curricula. 

Overall, you need to trust your gut instinct when planning for your undergraduate and graduate education. It's important to recognize that your career goals could change over four years as a college student, and that's okay. So don't cut yourself and your opportunities short because you want to plan well-into the future! Take your years at college to explore and take part in new and exciting opportunities that expand your knowledge and assumptions of the profession you choose to enter!!

enjoy the chase,

P.S. Are you thinking about graduate school and wondering what your options are for the future? Feel free to tweet or e-mail me with your questions!!

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