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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Letter to the Editor: CDO offers post-grad guidance

Dear Students:

This time of year, especially, many of you are looking toward the future. If the Class of 2013 is anything like the Class of 2012, as many as a quarter of you who are graduating may be directly heading off to graduate school. Exciting times! How do you make all the myriad decisions that lead up to matriculation in a graduate program?

“Myriad” is no exaggeration: Continuing your higher education is not a decision to be taken lightly. The decision, in fact, should be largely an instrumental one: How will an advanced degree help you reach your career and life goals?

While in graduate school, opportunity costs—what you lose by not doing something else (e.g., gaining real-world experience, earning a decent salary)—are large. In the end you’ll have a credential and, depending on the nature of your program, perhaps a substantial amount of debt. How the degree will benefit and position you for the future therefore requires careful and deliberate consideration. Talk with your professors; talk with your mentors; talk with me.

What? Someone at the Career Development Office can help? Yes, in addition to helping you polish your résumé, find an internship, and connect with alumni (and everything else you might intuitively associate with “career development”), the CDO is here to assist you with any and all phases of the decision-making process for graduate school. We are happy to help you articulate your goals; find ways to spend your summers productively; identify suitable programs; prepare for the requisite entrance exams; navigate the application processes; understand funding and financial aid possibilities; craft curricula vitae; draft and revise your statements of purpose; and even consider how to talk with your mentors, advisers, and parents (gasp!) about your plans. Communication is key—and planning ahead is essential.

But what if, after graduation, you intend to do something else first (service, work, or the like) and expect to apply to graduate school later? We support your plan! In fact, certain graduate programs prefer or even require a stint of work or service before they’ll consider you for admission to their programs. Our support, though, is not just ideological, even though taking some productive time away from schooling after college is almost never a bad idea. (Grinnell is pretty intense, after all; but graduate school is even more intense. Truly.) Rest assured that the CDO is happy to consult with alumni via e-mail or phone throughout the graduate school planning, applying, and decision-making processes.

Once your time at Grinnell is over, then, go forth into the world and do good work! When graduate school beckons, know that you can call on the CDO for any assistance you may require.

But first: Anyone who is contemplating graduate school should attend a workshop next Wednesday (April 10) at 4:15 in JRC 226. Although the session is entitled “Third-Years: How to Prep for Grad School,” it’s open to any and all students who are thinking about applying to graduate school in the future. Come one, come all . . . or, well, up to twenty of you (given the capacity of the room). Bring your questions, and we’ll discuss everything you imagine could be related to graduate school.

Can’t attend the workshop? You’re welcome to meet with me in person in the coming weeks and months to discuss your ideas, plans, and concerns. Call the CDO at x4940 to set up an appointment at your convenience. I look forward to meeting and talking with you soon.

Feel free to e-mail me directly [gumpstev], as well, with your questions about graduate school. The CDO also regularly hosts alumni visits and presents special programming for students anticipating careers in law, medicine, or business, so pay attention to the weekly CDO Newsletters (delivered via e-mail most Fridays during the academic year) or check in with me if you’re not sure where to learn about such opportunities. And don’t miss our annual Graduate and Professional School Fair in the early fall.

Remember that the CDO is here to support sound you and help you make decisions for your futures, regardless of the paths you take. If you are graduating next month, congratulations, and please keep in touch. 

With best wishes,

 Steve Gump, M.B.A., Ph.D. 


Assistant Director of Graduate & Professional School Advising

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