As the second semester is quickly approaching, many seniors are faced with the perennial question: do I go to graduate school or not?
Senior year is often the most demanding year for students. The decisions they make in the last year of college will affect them for the rest of their lives.
There are typically two directions to choose from. One, jump into the real world and get a job or two continue on with school and get a master’s degree.
While many students are wiped out from their last four, sometimes five or six years of college, additional schooling is the last thing they want to do.
“I have been in school for what feels like my whole life. I can’t even imagine two or more years more of homework. I need a break!” says senior Chris Ramos, a construction management major.
But on the other hand, many students find themselves struggling to find jobs right after graduation. The current state of the economy isn’t the best for new graduates. Students with just their bachelor’s degrees are competing with people with years of experience.
According to careerbuilder.com, a master’s degree is worth it in the long run and that “more formal education or advanced credentials in the specific field of work or occupational area will carry some weight in starting-salary offers.”
It is doubtful that any Fresno State student will argue that having a bigger salary is a problem.
Graduate school proves to be beneficial to those students who are unsure if they have picked the right major. Getting a master’s degree can broaden students’ range of knowledge, which can open many doors to other opportunities.
“I’ll have my [bachelor’s] degree in child development, but I want to get my masters in counseling. I feel like it will give me more job opportunities,” says senior Kristen Bergmann.
Grad school isn’t for everyone. Master’s programs are typically two-year programs of rigorous work, and usually require much more detail and in-depth analysis of the subject.
To get into many graduate programs in the United States, undergraduates are required to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The exam is used to assess students skills and readiness for graduate-level school work.
The test is set up similar to the SAT, but at a more advanced level. It evaluates verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and analytical writing skills. Each section is not related to a specific field of study.
The test is offered in two formats. It can be taken year-round by appointment at computer based testing centers (Fresno State is a testing center), or as a paper based test which is only offered a couple times a year.
There are a variety of GRE prep materials to get students prepared for the tests including computer software and test prep books.
While grad school may seem like an eternity away for some students, for others it is just around the corner. Choosing the right path is a challenging decision, but having a degree, bachelor’s or master’s, is rewarding either way.