Graduate School a Viable Path for Many, Costs a Downfall

We all graduate college at some point, whether it's this semester, next semester or in four years. But the real question we have to ask ourselves is, what's next? For some, it's moving on with their career and getting a full-time job in the real world, but for others it's moving on to a thing called graduate school.

It seems in today's world that more people follow the steps of continuing their education and applying for graduate school. It can be a scary thing for some, because many students don't know where to apply or how to even start the process.

There is a lot of thought that goes into it and many questions that are had.

Anna Fucci, a senior, said, "I don't even know where to start when looking into graduate school. It's just not something people really talk about."

With that being said, people have little knowledge about getting their master's degrees.

First, you have to understand that graduate school is extremely different from an undergraduate education. For most, college is the next step after high school. Once you get your bachelor's, you think you're finished and it's time for the real world, but for some, the real world is still a few years away.

Many ask the question, why even go? Some students think it's a waste of time and very expensive. Although it may feel like a waste of time during those couple years you're there, in the end, you are getting more experience and getting a further education than you did in college.

And while you may think it's expensive at the time, getting a graduate degree can lead to a higher income in the future. Those with more experience are more prone to getting a better job than someone who only has their bachelor's degree. That's not saying a bachelor's degree can't get you a good job; it's just that having a master's can lead to more opportunities, and higher pay.

Once you decide to actually go, the next question is where? Well, that all depends on what you want to further your studies in. Graduate school is nothing like choosing your undergraduate program; it's there to further your education in a specific topic.

Alayna Donadio, a senior who is graduating from Ramapo this spring, said, "I decided to go to Montclair for graduate school because it's not too far from home, and they have a really good school counseling program which is the program I hopefully get accepted into."

Once you decide where you want to go and decide what you want to study, the next thing to think about is how you're going to pay for it. Many can't afford to take on loans, especially after taking so many out during their four years of undergraduate. It may seem like graduate school isn't in the works for you.

Senior Briana Pfeilmeier said, "I personally can't attend graduate school because of the finances, especially in this economy. I don't find it feasible. Maybe if I find an employer willing to help me out with graduate school, then I would pursue it."

There are ways to make it work. Often enough, students look for positions as a graduate assistant, a research assistant or faculty assistant. These sometimes help compensate you during your time spent in grad school.

Attending graduate school is a huge deal, and for most, it's something you really have to think about. Once you decide it's your next step, do your research and don't settle.