Written By: Lukas Mihailovich (’15)
Edited By: Bree Riddick (’16)
Have you ever wondered if graduate school is right for you? The end of undergraduate studies can be a stressful time for college students as they decide whether to enter the workforce or pursue further education. On Oct. 15, 2014 the Graduate Program Coordinator, Dr. Pete Bsumek organized a discussion between professors and undergraduate students interested in graduate school. Along with an assortment of delicious snacks, students gained insight from professors on their experiences, and better understood what graduate school has to offer. Assistant Professors of Communications Dr. Tatjana Hocke and Dr. Dan Schill were the other participating professors.
While there are many graduate courses and degrees available to students, much of the discussion was about the general benefits of a degree, rather than on specific classes. As many college students close to graduating want to know, one major question was about the monetary benefits of going to graduate school. “For many entry level jobs, the graduate degree may not put you ahead right away,” explained Hocke, “but, as you move up in your career, a graduate degree is needed to even be considered for a lot of upper level jobs.”
While money may be the driving force behind many of our decisions, graduate school does not come without its time commitments. The workload intensifies with courses that are more specialized. “On one hand, it’s nice because the classes are much smaller and very hands on. On the other, you really have to be passionate about what you are studying,” said Bsumek. While many will take time off and return later in life for their higher education, Schill warned that this might not be the best idea. “Once you have a full-time job and mortgages to pay, the time and money may not always be there, and will make the process take much longer,” said Schill.
Students came well prepared for the two hour-long session provided, and had many questions that would help them in their decision making process. The SCOM professors’ experience-based answers were able to set students on the right track and provided useful and practical insight for undergraduate students.
Read more about the first event in 2014 at http://sites.jmu.edu/harrisonconnect/2014/02/25/is-graduate-school-right-for-you-tips-from-jmu-scom-faculty-members//.
Are you considering graduate school? If you are already in graduate school, what would you recommend to those considering?