Graduate school offers diversified career selections

Students who attend graduate school might be better prepared to compete for jobs.

The number of people in the United States who speak a language other than English at home has more than doubled since 1980, according to the U.S Census Bureau, reaching a population of 47 million.

That’s why Michael Lowe, a University graduate, is in high demand as a Spanish interpreter. To stay competitive, he said, he plans to go to graduate school after working as an interpreter at the Peruvian financial corporation InterBank for a year and teaching English abroad for a year.

“I need to further my educational career,” he said. “I don’t feel I learned all I can in a classroom setting – I’m hungry for more.”

Victor Bloomfield, interim dean of the Graduate School, said students start to take classes with advanced material in their junior or senior years.

He said that if students wish to get deeper into their subject matter and become more diversely educated, getting a graduate degree is an optimal decision.

Bloomfield said he not only sees the personal value of going to graduate school but also the market value.

He said graduate school makes students more able to compete and is evidence of increasing sophistication in many fields.

In 2003, 13 million college students in the United States were enrolled at the undergraduate level, according to the U.S. Census. Approximately 3 million were enrolled at the graduate level.

Andrea Scott, director of graduate admissions, advises students who wish to apply to graduate school to start early and to do much research.

In a presentation to undergraduates, she advised students to take required tests by early fall of their senior year. She said students should start drafting statements of purpose or assembling creative work.

She also recommends consulting college catalogues, making campus visits and talking to faculty members, current graduate students or alumni in one’s field of study.

Lowe said he has talked to faculty members and has gone to graduate-school fairs. Despite going through the initial steps, Lowe, like many other graduates, said he feels lost in deciding what to do with his degree.

He said he will spend some time in Spain this summer to help figure out whether he wants to keep studying Spanish, study business or go to law school.

“I’m going to go to graduate school either way, but right now I just need to figure out exactly what I want to do,” he said.

James Stevens, a linguistics graduate student, said many people go to graduate school because they do not know what to do next.

He said his advice for students looking into attending graduate school is to read what is going on in the field, find out what research the school’s faculty is doing, find out how competitive the program is and get interested.

Freelance editor Anna Weggel welcomes feedback at [email protected]