Graduate School: Is it right for me?

Is Graduate School Right for Me? Four people you should talk to!

Graduate school is a big decision. A big decision that means a significant investment of time, energy, money, and your ability to binge watch the latest Hulu original series. Before you dive in, it’s best to be intentional about why you are going to graduate school and why you are choosing to go now in particular. This reflective thinking is a daunting task to tackle solo, but if you talk to the right people, you can feel so much better in your decision-making process. Who are these magical individuals that will help you decide “YAY” or NAY” on graduate school? Here are the four major players we suggest…

#1. A Faculty Member You Trust

Faculty see into your soul, we mean it. They have observed you in an academic setting: how you approach intellectual tasks, how to face challenges, and what excites you within the sphere of learning. They also have a deep, can’t-forget-it-if-they-tried memory of what the graduate school experience was like. Faculty can provide advice that combines their knowledge of graduate school processes with their knowledge of you, producing some pretty accurate feedback in most cases. If this faculty member also happens to be in the discipline you aspire to join, all the better! Then they can also provide advice on faculty members at other schools who are solid (and maybe those who are less so) as well as schools with stellar programs (and those that you should stay far, far away from).

#2. A Denison Alumnus

Alumni know things. They too have stress eaten at Curtis while trying to figure life out. They want to help. Find an alumnus who is in the industry you want to join: they will give realistic advice on how a graduate degree will influence your employment ability and the tasks/skills/knowledge most beneficial for the industry. Find an alumnus who went to graduate school for what you want to study: they will let you know the ins and outs of the application process. How do you find such alumni? Let’s count the ways:

       1.  Faculty in your field often remember their students, keep in contact and give out referrals.
       2.  Wisr: a networking platform meant to connect Denison students to Denison alum in a magical synergy.
       3.  The “Find Alumni Tool” on LinkedIn: don’t know about it? Your life is about to change.

Reaching out to alums can be scary…. don’t be afraid to stop by the Knowlton Center for advice on how to do so professionally!

#3. A Knowlton Center Career Coach

You all knew this was coming. Knowlton Center Career Coaches can help you examine your interests, goals, and motivations for graduate school and help with strategy on deciding when and where to attend. Plus, we can help you rock the application process if you decide it is right for you to attend graduate school! Everything from selecting graduate programs, preparing for the GRE, writing your personal statement: we’ve got your back. How to begin? Make an appointment online via Handshake, call (740) 587-6656, or just stop by Burton Morgan 306. We hope to see you soon!

#4. An Important Person in Your Life

People who know you well are always good to talk to. For some, that is a parent, a significant other, the guy down the hall who is a great listener, whatever. Talk out your thought process, ask them to listen for the underlying motivations you have, encourage them to ask you questions, let them help you think through this decision. The more you talk about this, the more aware you will become of your own goals, strengths, and values.

Ok folks, time to buckle down and get talking! Best wishes on the graduate school exploration process!