Grad School FAQ

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The economy is bad and I can’t get the job I really want, should I go to grad school?

According to Dr. Phil Gardner of Michigan State’s Collegiate Employment Research Institute, getting a grad degree to sit out the downturn is the “worst mistake” that a student can do. Why? Because once you graduate, you will have a degree but no experience. Before going to grad school, make sure you know what you want to do with that grad degree.

Should I go to grad school right after graduation?

That depends. If you have the mental energy and know that God is calling you into a particular field, then by all means, go straight to grad school! But if you are like most students and you’re not sure, or if you’re a bit burned out, then I would wait and work for a year or two.

Here’s my “have-my-cake-and-eat-it-too” grad school scenario:

  • Take your GRE/MCAT/LSAT before you graduate and bank the results for up to 5 years
  • Apply to your grad program of choice and defer your enrollment for 1-2 years
  • Work for 1-2 years and gain some experience
  • Then attend grad school academically refreshed and more certain of your future plans

I’ve heard that it’s easier to get a job with an advanced degree. Is that true?

It is easier to get a job with an advanced degree as long as that degree will benefit your employer! Having an advanced degree may actually limit your job choices because your advanced degree indicates that you have specialized in a particular field. Ask yourself: what do I want to do with that Masters in History or Theology or Biology? What types of organizations hire people with this degree?

How do I know which grad program is right for me?

If you are interested in a specific discipline which engaged you during your undergraduate studies, then start a relationship with that professor that piqued your passion. When applying for a masters or doctoral program you need to specify your interest area and start thinking about dissertation subjects. Professors can also help you choose the best program for your area of inquiry.

If you are interested in professional schools, make sure you are interested in pursuing a career in that field. You can do this by job shadowing or doing an informational interview. Career Services partners with Alumni Relations to connect you to a constituent within a particular professional field.

What school has the best program for what I want to do?

You have to do your research on this. There are numerous ranking lists on the Internet and several are listed below this document. Wheaton has pre-law advisors, pre-health advisors and general career advisors with whom you can make an appointment.

I want to go to grad school eventually, but I need a break. What do you advise?

I advise that you work for 1-2 years before committing to a grad program. That way you can ensure that the advanced degree you earn will help you in your career. For example, if you want a career in Human Resources, a Masters in Human Resources will serve you better than a Masters in Business Administration but you won’t know that until you’ve had a taste of working in HR!

What percentage of Wheaton grads go on to get an advanced degree?

Nationally, about 9% of undergraduate students go on to complete an advanced degree. At Wheaton, approximately 23% of Seniors go directory to professional or graduate school, while 40% enroll in a grad program within 5 years of graduating. That’s an amazing statistic!

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