why do you want to pursue a graduate degree

Many GSAS students have more than a single reason for considering graduate studies at the masters level. Students often enter masters degree programs:
Securing Your Career In the highly competitive global marketplace, a masters degree sets you apart from other job candidates. With a masters degree, youll be eligible for more jobs. The number of occupations that typically require a masters degree will increase by nearly 20% between 2006 and 2016. In many career sectors, such as higher education administration, public affairs, and social services, a master's degree is replacing a bachelor's as the minimum requirement for employment. With a bachelor's degree in the 1980s, one could secure an entry level position as an admissions counselor, academic adviser, or student services coordinator. By the 2000s, applicants for these same entry-level positions were not even considered unless they held a master's degree. While holding a graduate degree is not a guarantee of ultimate success, it certainly opens many more doors for employment. A masters degree helps give you job security. Data from the 2012 U. S. Census Bureau show that the unemployment rate for holders of masters degree is 3. 5% compared with 4. 5% for those with only bachelors degrees, while unemployment rates among those with doctorates (2. 5%) and advanced professional degrees (2. 1%) are approximately half that of those with only a bachelors degree. Professional Development Masters degree programs are increasingly becoming professionalized, with a new focus on preparing graduates for careers in business, government, and non-profit settings.

For graduate degree holders, the numbers are favorable: U. S. workers between the ages of 21 and 64 with a master's degree or higher earn an average annual salary of $55,242, versus those with a bachelor's degree whose average annual salary is $42,877, according to the United States Census Bureau. That represents nearly a 30 percent difference in average annual salaryand offers clear evidence that completing a graduate degree can make a positive impact on one's financial situation. Masters degree programs combine discipline-specific, advanced coursework with skills like critical thinking, analytic ability, and time management that are easily transferred if your career path changes. Earning a graduate degree is evidence of persistence, determination, intellectual prowess, and the ability to handle challenging environmentsall of which are sought-after qualities for individuals filling manager and director positions. An employee who has demonstrated success in a long-term situation that requires stamina, discipline, leadership, and the ability to work well with others is going to be in line for growth opportunities within his or her organization. Employer Incentives: Some large corporations have funds set aside that will pay partial or full fees for qualified employees.

Personal Development A masters degree not only deepens your education, but also allows you to contribute out of the classroom. Demand for services in education and not-for-profit sectors continues to grow and, as a highly-skilled masters degree recipient, youll be able to fulfill those roles. Choosing to pursue a masters degree takes initiative and commitment. The same traits, along with your newly gained knowledge and skills, will make you a successful leader and innovator when you complete your degree. Enjoy travel opportunities. Some programs, such as archaeology, require studying abroad for research purposes. For those who like to travel, this is a bonus. Be part of a chain of knowledge. Just imagine that the knowledge handed to you by your professor came from another professor who learned it from someone who learned it from a famous scientist or philosopher. You become part of a chain of knowledge. Greater recognition and credibility: There are countless numbers of graduate degree holders who have gone on to accomplish great things, and who are afforded the respect and recognition they deserve and have earned. Unquestionably, an advanced degree makes a difference on a rsum. It says something about who you are and the dedication you have to your chosen field. Sense of accomplishment: The effort put forth to complete your studies, despite moments of doubt and uncertainty, will stand as a central character-building life experience.

It is only natural for prospective, current or recent college graduates to think about the future and what direction they want their lives to go. Entering the workforce or continuing on the education path are the main choices available. Those who finished college a long time ago may also be looking for a change or a chance to learn something new. Though there are many personal reasons a person might pursue a graduate degree, there are also several common reasons people seek out higher degree programs. Completing a graduate program can open up more career opportunities, especially in a challenging job market. Many employers like to see or even require advanced degrees on a resume. With that graduate degree in hand, it may be easier to get into the field you are interested in, giving you precedence over a candidate with no college experience or a bachelors degree alone. Choosing a graduate program that focuses on the career path that you truly want provides specialized knowledge and experience in that field. College grad students have opportunities to conduct research, explore new technology, learn new methods and study advanced information that the average person doesn't have access to. Going to graduate school in a program that focuses on your field can help you do a better job in your current job as you expand your understanding and learn new information that can increase your skills and knowledge.

Frequently, but not always, people with graduate degrees make more money than people with no extra schooling or minimal education. With that graduate degree on your resume, you can request a higher salary during interviews and expect a fair amount of compensation for your knowledge, skills and background. One mistake that is often made, however, is unrealistic expectations of starting at the top -- you do have to start somewhere and work your way up, gaining experience to enhance and refine what you've learned in your education. It is part of the workforce process. Some people set their sights on a doctoral level degree, and attending graduate school is the way to get there. Often, people choose a Master's degree program in a specialized area and continue with the field or choose to fine-tune the area of expertise even further. Some fields, such as academia, require a terminal master's degree or a doctorate degree before they will consider a candidate for hiring. Before jumping at the chance to attend grad school, consider a few issues first. Completing a graduate degree takes time and money. Some people have a hard time financially through this period. You could choose to work part- or full- time and attend graduate school part-time to make ends meet. Avoid going to graduate school if you're just going because someone told you to or you don't feel ready to enter the workforce. The choice should be yours and for the right reasons.

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