Is graduate school right for you?

Matt Escamilla, Staff Reporter

Leina Diamond attended the “Applying for Grad School” workshop put on by Career Services last week.

“I wanted to have more information on how to apply because I’m starting to fill out applications now so I can get in for [next] fall,” Diamond said. 

Life after completing a bachelor’s degree can be challenging, depending on an individual’s career goals. A master’s degree might be something to think about. Angela Kyle, a junior, is double majoring in interdisciplinary studies and public relations with a minor in accessibility studies. Kyle knew she would need a master’s in higher education after researching her field of choice.

“I want to work in higher education…such as admissions, director of admissions or dean,” Kyle said. 

Kyle mentioned she never saw herself moving onto a master’s program, after coming from Clark Community College.

For individuals who are on the fence about graduate school, Dean of Graduate Studies Kevin Archer said not to stress over it.

“You’re trying to find your way in life. Give yourself some time to do that by doing things in real life outside of school,” Archer said.

According to Archer, taking a year or two off to make sure a graduate program is something an individual wants or needs isn’t uncommon. 

Meghan Rochelle

Diamond, a junior in law and justice, plans to attend a graduate program next fall. She wants to use the extra two years of schooling to think about her life and career path. 

Diamond mentioned that she is applying to Seattle University and CWU for her graduate degree. After completing her degree Diamond wants to work for the FBI, CIA, police or do some more research in her field. Diamond also has minors in sociology and Japanese.

Director of Testing Services William Thelen  said getting a master’s degree will provide an individual more opportunities 

“If you’re majoring in physics, a bachelor is great, but if you get a master’s or doctorate, then you can do more research,” Thelen said.

For students who are planning on going to graduate school, staying at CWU is an option. CWU offers over 30 graduate programs.

“Your faculty will have a hands-on approach, you’re very close to your faculty here at [CWU]. They will teach you how to be a graduate student,” Archer said.

According to Archer, students who are self-driven and willing to take on more responsibility for their education in a graduate studies program have a better chance of succeeding.

According to Thelen, graduate students who are strong writers will also have an easier time than others completing their programs.

“Writing papers is probably the biggest problem for everybody because it’s something that they don’t necessarily focus on in undergrad school. You’re writing papers for everything in grad school,” Thelen said.

According to Archer, there is help available for students who are worried about the cost of graduate school. It’s a lot easier to get financing for graduate studies than undergraduate because of a graduate assistantship. According to Archer, a student can work 20 hours a week, helping faculty members with research and teaching duties. The assistantship will pay for room and board, plus a good portion of tuition and books. In graduate studies, programs also offer fellowships, which are another form of scholarship. 

“Never let that stand in the way of your desires,” Archer said. 

Archer and Thelen both agree students should plan ahead and understand each school’s admissions process when applying for a graduate program. 

“You really can’t start too early [when] thinking about grad school,” Thelen said. 

Archer also said individuals interested in graduate school should connect with professors, so when the time comes an individual can ask for a letter of recommendation. 

According to Thelen, seniors aren’t too late, however, junior year is the preferred time to start the admission process. This way if students don’t have the scores they need after the first try, they can retake the admissions test.