You're probably wondering, “why should I do more schooling when I just finished my undergrad?” This can be a difficult decision to make after finishing years of an undergraduate degree, but there are many benefits to a graduate degree that you may not know about. Here are five reasons why you should consider applying to a grad school.
1. Gain experience as a Teaching/Research assistant
Many graduate programs offer the opportunity to be a Teaching or Research Assistant while completing the program. As a Teaching Assistant, you gain valuable skills such as communication, organization, and time management that will transfer to your future career. Your communication skills will further develop as you have to take complex information and synthesize it into easy-to-digest material for your students. You will learn how to cater your teaching style for each of your classes to have the greatest impact on your students. Your time management and organizational skills will improve as you must balance your studies with teaching and the responsibilities that accompany this role. As a Research Assistant, you have the opportunity to work closely with professors to help them with their research. You gain valuable research, critical thinking, and communication skills. These are great positions to have on your resume as their skills can be adapted to whatever career path you choose to follow.
2. Specialize in a topic you're interested in
Similar to an undergrad degree, you get to choose an area to study that interests you. But a grad degree is one step further as you get to specialize in a topic that is personal and interesting to you. In your undergrad, you chose courses to complete requirements for a program that you were interested in, but in grad school, you choose what topic to devote your studies and research to. You will be expected to conduct research and attend meetings and seminars that are related to your subject, but since it is a topic that you are interested in then the work will feel meaningful. Your topic could be anything from analyzing your favourite childhood movie, studying the long-term effects of concussions on hockey players, or excavating possible sites of ancient civilizations. The decision is yours.
3. Open up opportunities
As a graduate student, you are open to greater opportunities than undergraduate students. You have many more chances to write and contribute to publications and increase your scholarly reputation. Grad students are typically invited to speak at conferences, work on research projects, and write a publication for a journal. They are also given access to more resources such as lab equipment, graduate study areas, library archives, and more. Since you are in a smaller program, you have access to more research and academic advantages.
4. Set yourself apart
Most careers are asking for students to have an undergraduate degree as a minimum requirement, so how can you set yourself apart from all of these other students? A graduate degree can increase your chances of gaining attention from possible employers as you've demonstrated the drive to further your education and increase your knowledge. A graduate degree will provide powerful additions to your resume such as strong communication and research skills, possible publications, a greater network, and possible employment from the university in the form of a Teaching/Research Assistant role.
5. Make closer connections
As an undergraduate student, you were one of a hundred other students in your program. It is hard to make strong connections with peers and professors as you're competing against so many others. In grad school, you work closely alongside professors and a few other students which increase the likelihood of making strong connections. These professional connections are beneficial to have in your studies as well as in your career as they can act as references for you, can assist you in writing publications, and can refer you to their connections when looking for a career. These networks that you create in grad school will be useful for the rest of your life.
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