It can be a scary world out there for college graduates.
To delay the daunting, if inevitable entrance into the real world, many students are looking to attend graduate school after they matriculate from Auburn.
Jack Walls, a career counselor at Auburn, dispels the myths of academic life after college.
“It is not a good idea just to go to graduate school just because you can’t get a job," Walls said. "Getting into graduate school is just as difficult as getting a job.”
The process can take anywhere from ten months to a year. The summer before enrolling potential graduate students should sign up and study for an entrance exam, usually the GRE, LSAT or MCAT, and aim to take it in the fall. Potential grad students should then research different graduate schools and choose about five or six, keeping in mind that each application requires a fee.
Most graduate schools take applications between January and March and require a personal statement, interview and recommendation letters.
Katie O’ Donnell, who received a B.S. in communication disorders at Auburn and is now a graduate student in speech pathology at the University of South Alabama, spent a lot of time on the application process.
“I applied to five graduate schools," Donnell said. "Although my ultimate decision was easy because I was offered a graduate assistantship at South, which pays most of my tuition plus a salary. The application process was stressful because of the deadlines and individual school requirements."
John Davidson, an Auburn graduate who majored in finance and economics and is now in the M.A. program at the University of Alabama, also stresses the difficulty of applying to graduate school.
“I applied to three law schools and one graduate program,” Davidson said. "Applying was a major pain in the ass, with all the recommendation letters and essays."
Make no mistake, graduate school is not the easy way out, but a challenging life decision.
“Graduate school is a job by the way,” Walls said. "It is not like undergraduate school. You will be working as a gta or ra and will be paid around $10,000 to $15,000 so you’re making money, but you will also be a full time student."
Some schools, such as Auburn’s MBA program, want two years of work experience in addition to a high gpa and test scores. For students with an overall undergraduate gpa of 2.5 or below, working for a couple of years will increase their chances of being accepted into a graduate program. However, attending graduate school will increase chances of getting a job.
“I definitely feel more secure about finding a job in May when I graduate," O’Donnell said. "It may not be my dream job right away, but I feel I’ll be employed somewhere."
Davidson also thinks he will be employed upon graduation.
“It was fairly easy to get through undergrad and not really have a good grasp of what I studied, but it is definitely not that way now” Davidson said. "I feel much more confident about securing a job."
Whether finding a job or attending graduate school, Walls encourages students to let the Career Center help them through the process.
“We can help finalize your resume, edit your personal statement and walk you through graduate school applications or job searches,” Walls said.