A junior marketing major at Missouri State University, Stephanie French will be graduating around the same time as the majority of her classmates. Only she will be walking off campus with not one, but two, degrees from her five years of study.
Like more and more students across the country, French has chosen to continue her education and take on graduate school.
“You learn different types of skills than you do in your undergraduate work,” French said. “And today with how competitive the market is, employers are looking for a more competitive degree and someone with a different skill set. I think that furthering your education will open more opportunities.”
By entering MSU’s accelerated Masters of Business Administration program in January 2012, French said she enrolled in two classes she would normally take as a undergrad, at a graduate level and received credit for both a bachelor and masters degree.
“There’s a wider variety of students from different backgrounds, you’re doing a lot more hands-on learning in smaller classes, so it’s more of an intimate experience and I feel like you get to know the professors better,” French said. “I personally thought my graduate classes were sometimes easier than my undergrad ones.”
For those still deciding if furthering their education is the way to go, Peterson’s Graduate Schools provides extensive education information for students, parents, educators and others.
The online helper has a detailed database of featured grad schools and programs along with plenty of food for thought when making the big decision. What many students may not understand is that graduate school comes in a variety of forms including professional schools, master’s programs and doctoral programs.
So, why is grad school a good idea?
According to Peterson’s, graduate school opens the doors for greater earning power, career advancement, and recognition locally and internationally.
On the other side of the coin, the grad school guide lists stress, writing a thesis, potential for debt, and stiff competition as reasons to reconsider committing to more education.
One student who has faced the decision on taking on additional debt to gain more knowledge is Camille Powell, a senior criminology major at the University of North Texas.
Taking the professional grad school track, Powell said she plans to graduate in December 2012, backpack across Europe the following spring, and start law school in August 2013.
“I decided to go to law school because I love learning about law and how it impacts people,” Powell said. “ Unfortunately, many careers require post grad degrees just to get in the door now. Despite having a 4.0 in my major and being supported by my single parent teacher mother, I don’t receive any scholarships and have accumulated quite a bit in student loans. Going to grad school allows me just a little more time to avoid the headache of trying to pay those off.”
An addiction to “Law and Order” and true crime documentaries sparked Powell’s interest in criminal justice, inspiring her to research cases and trials in her free time.
Powell said all of her built up knowledge and criminology degree would only allow her to do police work, so grad school seemed like the most viable option for success.
“I think furthering your education can be a great thing,” Powell said. “You get to learn more about something that interests you, and secure a better job for your future. Grad school can be expensive, but the huge payout and all of the benefits will be worth it in the long run.”
For those interested in weighing out the options with a little more detail, campus career centers often provide students with guidance for planning their future.
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