The College Success Foundation (CSF) hosted a Graduate Education Fair at the University of Washington’s Multicultural Center on Saturday, October 5. Northeastern University was one of the eight local universities invited to attend. The College Success Foundation was established in the spring of 2000 by Bob Craves and Ann Ramsay-Jenkins to provide college scholarships and mentoring to low-income, high-potential students. The event was attended by over 100 CSF Scholars who are either currently enrolled in college or have graduated in the last 8 years. This was the 7th annual Graduate Education Institute. Attendees went through a series of workshops on how to prepare, select, apply, and pay for grad school.
Claire Lewis, an admission recruiter at the Seattle Campus led a workshop titled, “Discerning: When to Go, Where to Go, What to Study” on the graduate education process. Over 25 Scholars attended the presentation.
When to go: The question here is should I go right from undergraduate or get work experience first? There are some benefits of going straight from undergraduate. These include a smooth transition from undergraduate to graduate school, likely possessing fewer responsibilities than the future may hold and, more likely confident in your life goals and desired career path. There are also benefits of getting experience first. These would include getting more professional experience, more time to save for tuition and expenses and, the ability to look for an employer who will pay for graduate school. It is also important to maintain a work/life balance. If you have less time to devote to studies it may be beneficial to wait until more time frees up.
Where to go: One of the key points to consider when choosing the right school for you is school/program fit. It is important to find a program that is right for you but you also need to find a school that is going to match up with your development goals. Some characterizes to consider are faculty, delivery method, location, costs/financial aid, culture, size and resources. You should not make a decision on rankings/reputation alone. Many statistics for schools are based off undergraduate programs and can vary for the same schools graduate programs.
A good characteristic in any program is Experiential Learning. This is the process of learning by doing real-world and applied activities. Examples of this type of learning would be internships, capstone projects and self-directed studies.
What to study: This is the most important question because what you are studying and what you hope to get out of the degree must be aligned. You should find something that you are passionate about, don’t be swayed by booming industries or the latest news statistic. Some good questions to ask yourself are “What do you want to be an expert in?” or “What is your dream job?” Do not assume that your undergraduate studies have to relate to your graduate studies. Combining two different but complementary areas of study can lead to unique career paths. Make sure you are talking to professionals in their field! Try informational interviewing, job shadowing, and attending networking events.