Are You Grad-School Ready?March 13, 2012
Just the other day, I was talking with a classmate, and somehow we ended up on the topic of graduate school. As a junior in college, the time for deciding if grad school is the direction I want to choose is getting closer and closer every day. After talking with others, I realized that there are a lot of us who are unsure whether graduate school is for right for us. But after doing some research, I realized that more women than ever before are seeking graduate degrees. In fact, the Center for Education Statistics projected that 297,000 women will earn master’s degrees in 2011–12 — an increase of more than 30,000 in the last decade.
Given current economic trends and the lack of pay equity between women and men, a graduate education is a clear way for women in the workforce to upgrade their skills. Women now earn more advanced degrees than men, which could give them an edge in the job search process. In addition, women with master’s degrees will make $400,000 more over their lifetimes than those who only have bachelor’s degrees.
Higher income is not the only benefit of attending graduate school, however. AAUW Director of Leadership Programs Kate Farrar, who has a master’s in public administration, said, “The greatest benefits of graduate school for me were to gain specific skills for nonprofit management and to gain a network of peers committed to public service.” AAUW Leadership Programs Intern Jessica Kelly, who is finishing up her master’s, explained that grad school has provided her with a unique opportunity to learn new theories in class and put them into practice in an assistantship.
Still not sure of the benefits that grad school could offer you? The Graduate School Fair at the 2012 National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL) allows students to interact face-to-face with administrators to make personal connections and to explore the opportunities at these schools. Last year, attendees learned about 60 schools in just two hours. “I think it’s excellent,” said Rachel Kelly, a 2011 attendee. “I’m so excited NCCWSL has this available to us, because when else would you have so many grad schools at your disposal?”
The second annual Graduate School Fair at this year’s conference will be even bigger and better! Expect schools such as Johns Hopkins University and Duquesne University, both of which also participated last year. I can’t wait to explore what they have to share!
For more information about the 2012 Graduate School Fair, visit the NCCWSL website. We hope you encourage your current school or alma mater to participate!
And tell us, are you interested in grad school? What do you need to know to get yourself grad-school ready?
This post was written by AAUW Leadership Programs Intern Nzinga Shury.