Article contributed by chief-editor of MyGraduateSchool.com - Sarah Brown Tesolin
As we watch the austerity measures come into place in Greece and the inevitable retaliation that will come with it, it becomes clearer that many nations are struggling with high unemployment levels, economic recessions and less than optimal prospects for the younger generations in the near future. As has always been the case, even in the best of economic times, job candidates need an edge if they are to be employed. Once a valuable asset, a college degree and relevant experience is now no longer enough to ensure a secure career. Although a baccalaureate can certainly help you land a decent job, there is no substitute for the specialized training that can only be obtained with a graduate degree.
What grad school has to offer
In ideal circumstances, graduate school allows for the development of original thinking, research excellence and an opportunity to exercise one's sense of curiosity in a chosen discipline. Critical thinking as well as advanced writing skills and the ability to analyze complex problems are some of the skills that make a candidate with an advanced degree a true asset for many private organizations, government agencies, or academic institutions.
Understandably, more and more students are aware of the need for higher education to be competitive on the workforce. In 2008, the CGS/GRE Survey of Graduate Enrollment and Degrees reported enrolling a total of nearly 1.75 million students in U.S. graduate programs, with an average annual increase of 3.7%. In Canada, the rate of enrolment is increasing slightly faster at 5.3% annually with the number of students enrolling in graduate school at 172 000.
Career objectives and finding the right graduate program
Given the increase in demand for graduate training, the choice of graduate programs offered to college and university students has also steadily increased. In some disciplines, there are hundreds of schools offering, what may at first appear to be similar graduate degrees. With this in mind, it is important to have the right strategy and expectations when choosing which graduate programs to apply to. With so many options, how does a college graduate go about making the appropriate selection? Well, it begins with a good understanding of one's career goals and long-term plans. Knowing what you want to be doing in say 5 to 10 years from now is a good start and can even put you at an advantage of other applicants. Once you have established your career objectives, the next step is to research graduate programs that offer the skills and techniques that you will need to master for your future career. There are many relevant factors to consider when deciding which programs to apply to and some less relevant. I suggest reading this article, by our Graduate school expert, Dr. Dave G. Mumby, to find out more on choosing the right graduate program.
It used to be that getting your Bachelors degree and joining the work force was a good option for many, but under the current economic situation and the lack of job opportunities, it appears that this is not necessarily a viable option for some. Is it perhaps better to bide your time in grad school, while acquiring some useful skills in the process? This may be a better time now more than ever before to consider going to graduate school, because it is unlikely that the employment prospects for people without specialized training are going to improve substantially during the next several years.
Find lots more expert advice on getting into grad school in the newly released book: Graduate School: Winning Strategies For Getting In, 2nd edition, by Dave G. Mumby, Ph.D. It is the most comprehensive advisement handbook for College and University students who are considering graduate school. Whether you are still deciding if grad school is right for you, or are looking for ways to maximize your application, this book is for you. Paperback version available at Amazon & Barnes & Noble. eBook available on Kindle and for Apple iPad/iBooks, Nook, Sony Reader, Kobo, and most e-reading apps. Get Your Copy Now!
Council of Graduate Schools: http://www.cgsnet.org/portals/0/pdf/DataSources_2011_04.pdf
Canadian Association for Graduate Studies. (2011). 39th Statistical Report: 1999-2008. Ottawa, ON: Canadian Association for Graduate Studies.
Author of the article: Sarah Brown Tesolin is the chief editor for MyGraduateSchool.com For more information, check out her profile on LinkedIn or on Facebook