Why go to graduate school? Here are some of the biggest motivators for students

A look at various factors that influence a decision to apply to graduate school, offered in advance of the Student Professional Development Center's 2019 Graduate & Professional Development School Fair in McKinnon Hall from 3 to 6 pm.

On Thursday, Oct. 31, the Student Professional Development Center will host the 2019 Graduate & Professional Development School Fair in McKinnon Hall from 3 to 6 p.m.

This event will provide students the opportunity to meet and speak with representatives from more than 30 colleges and universities. From law schools to medicine to world politics, there are myriad opportunities for postgraduate studies. Even for students who aren’t completely sure (yet) that graduate school is the path for them, talking with program representatives can give insight into what grad school is like and what their programs in particular can offer.

Below are some of the factors that motivate students to apply to graduate school.

To become a specialist in a particular field. The groundwork has been laid in your undergraduate studies; now, in graduate school, you will go deeper, tackling more complex concepts, and hone your expertise within your field. You will work alongside like-minded people with the same intellectual interests and you will learn with, and from, each other. Graduate schools can provide opportunities to explore ideas and theories of interest to you through research and collaboration and may allow you to contribute to your field of study as well.

More money. Will a master’s degree (or a doctorate) really make a difference in your salary? Well, that depends on your field. Salary projections published this year by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) reveal significant differences in the mean starting salaries for those with bachelor’s degrees compared to those with graduate degrees in some fields, while in others, the difference is slight. If money is a primary motivator for you, do the necessary research on starting salaries with and without a graduate degree. The information is out there and not difficult to find!

The credentials that come with a post-graduate degree. Sometimes, simply having a graduate degree will raise your personal stock value in the candidate pool, leading to a greater likelihood of being hired, and for advancement in the workforce. A graduate degree can open up a wider and deeper array of career opportunities, especially in fields like psychology, social work and healthcare. It can allow for mobility should you decide to change career tracks. The bottom (and obvious) line: it will make you more knowledgeable in the field to which you’ve decided to dedicate yourself.

And face it: sometimes you have to go. This is what we mean by “professional school.” You aren’t going to get a job in some fields without a graduate degree. Healthcare providers (doctors, nurses, pharmacists, physical therapists, physician assistants, etc.), attorneys, librarians, social workers and most business executives have all been to graduate/professional school. They cannot work in their respective fields without having done so.

The Graduate and Professional School Fair is open to all students, staff and faculty. We encourage students of all years to attend. Learn more about the advantages that graduate school offers and the rewards it provides. Students attending the fair can register at the door for a raffle that includes a scholarship to any of the Kaplan graduate exam prep classes offered (GRE, MCAT, LSAT, GMAT, ect.), reimbursement for a test fee (GRE, etc.), and reimbursement for an application fee ($50).

More information about the graduate school process.

The SPDC has endless graduate school resources from the process overview to letters of recommendation to mock interviews. Make an appointment or visit our website for more details!