Until Grad School …

You have finally walked across the stage, shaken hands with President Judy Genshaft, and received your diploma. Many graduates plan to continue their education in graduate or professional school. There are many reasons to consider furthering your education right away, but what if you’re not ready for that step yet? In today’s post, we’ll discuss possible options that you can consider until you’re ready for grad school.

Entry-Level Jobs
When you graduate with your undergraduate degree, you will likely pursue one of two paths: furthering your education or entering the workforce. While some students go straight to grad school and others may have plans of returning to school later, the vast majority of students choose to immediately begin working in entry-level positions.

Entering the world of work allows you to begin using your degree instantly. You’re able to gain experience and continue to build on the essential skills that you developed in college. You’re also able to start establishing yourself financially, and while this isn’t impossible to do in graduate school, it may be a little easier to do.

Entry-level jobs also help you understand the industry that you have decided to work within. You can learn from your supervisors and coworkers, ask questions about how upper management makes their decisions, and continue to build your professional network in ways that can help you advance your career. Learning the ins and outs of the company and industry that you work within can help you determine whether or not furthering your education may be the right choice for you and can help you select an appropriate program of study.

If you’re considering an entry-level position, check out our Spring 2018 Career & Internship Fair Week. Employers will continue to register up until the week before the first fair on January 31, 2018, so mark your calendars now!

Myth: Internships are only for current students. Fact: Many companies accept recent graduates into their internship programs on a track toward full-time employment.

If you focused on your studies during your undergraduate years, a post-graduate internship can help you get some work experience on your resume. This allows the company to test your essential skills, like professionalism, teamwork, and communication and gives you an opportunity to see if you like the position and company before you agree to a full-time role.

To find these opportunities, you can attend our Spring 2018 Career & Internship Fair Week, but you may want to check out our other employer events as well. On November 14, we have an Industry Networking Night event for the Financial Services Industry, which will allow you to meet with representatives from a few companies all in one place. You don’t have to be a business or finance major to attend, but you should have an interest in working within the Financial Services Industry.

You can check out all of our opportunities to meet with employers on campus in Handshake in the Events and Fairs sections of the site. You can also use Handshake to do research on your own to see which companies have internships available for seniors or recent graduates.

Trade Schools and Certifications
Graduate and professional schools are not the only places where you can pursue post-graduate education. Trade schools are institutions that are focused on teaching their students a particular skill or about a specific industry. These include art institutes, technical schools, and specialists schools.

You can also consider pursuing a certificate program. These are often offered at colleges and universities and are less intense than graduate programs. They may be less expensive, require fewer classes, and take less time to complete than a traditional Master’s degree. Certifications are offered for a variety of different subjects or technologies. If you’re planning to work in a technology-driven industry or role, you can get certifications for Adobe, Microsoft, and Google, to name a few.

For both trade schools and certifications, be sure to do your research about what is offered, how much it will cost, how long it will take, and whether or not it will benefit you in your industry. If you need help considering this option or beginning your search, schedule an appointment with your Career Consultant through Handshake.

Time Off
If you take time off between graduating with your undergraduate degree and pursuing graduate school or entering the workforce, you may get some questions about what you did with that time during the interview process for your future program or job. Rather than going back home and working in a part-time job (a trap that Don Asher says you may not escape from!), consider taking time to explore your interests. A common option is to travel domestically or internationally. Even though it’s something a lot of people do, you can use this time to help you narrow your interests and solidify your passion for the field that you enter when you return, so don’t be afraid to talk about your unique experience during interviews.

If you absolutely have to return home, but still plan on going to graduate school or entering the world of work later, make your time off count. You may need to have a part-time or even full-time job to help make ends meet and begin paying off student loans if you have them, but you should also consider getting involved in your community. Volunteering can be a great way to demonstrate to a future program administrator or interviewer that you have passion and drive. If you can find volunteer opportunities within an area that you plan to continue to study or work, this will give you some great hands-on experience that can make you stand out during the application process.


Your Graduate Pathway

Happy October, USF!

When you think about October, you probably think about apple cider, pumpkin spice, haunted houses, and dressing up. In Career Services, we add one more October theme to that list: Graduate Pathways!

For the last several years, we’ve been using the month of October to introduce USF students to Graduate and Professional School. Many advanced degree programs have application deadlines that fall sometime between October and December, and so we host workshops throughout the month to help you decide if Grad School is right for you, how to choose a program, and how to finance that journey.

Today, we’re going to talk a little bit about what Grad School is, and why you may want to consider a program.


So, What is Grad School?

Right now, you’re probably pursuing a four-year bachelor’s degree. Let’s get something straight. That degree is valuable, and it demonstrates to employers that you have the knowledge to excel in the world of work. Your undergraduate program prepares you to work in a wide variety of industries – even if you major in something specific, like engineering.

A Graduate or Professional School program is an advanced program of study. It is focused on a specific academic area or a specific profession. For example, if you wanted to be a doctor, you would need to go to medical school where you would choose an area to specialize in, and then learn information specific to that area of the healthcare industry.

Grad School typically requires original research or scholarship. This means that you may have to produce a written thesis paper or present your research to a group. It’s important to know what potential programs of interest require before applying to those programs.


Do I Need Grad School?

Some career pathways require an advanced degree that shows that you have intense commitment, passion, and drive for the work that you do. If you’re not sure if you will need to pursue an advanced degree, there are a few ways you can find out.

Our office is always here to help you. Our Career Consultants are familiar with the variety of career pathways that you may take and they have tools to help you determine how far you should go with your education to be successful in your field. If you’re interested in sitting down to discuss your pathway one-on-one, contact our office and we’ll set you up with an appointment. You can also check out the information that we have online.

Attend our Graduate Pathways month events! This year, we’re starting things off at our Graduate Pathways Month Kickoff Celebration on Wednesday, October 4. Join us from 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. on the first floor of the Marshall Student Center to learn how the month of October can benefit you! We’ll also be sharing the details about how you can score a $50 GRE Test Prep Package! Can’t make the Kickoff? Details about our other Graduate Pathways events are in Handshake.

If you prefer to do some research on your own first, check out the site OnetOnline.org (link to onetonline.org). Using the Occupation Quick Search bar in the top right corner, you can look for details about jobs or career paths that you are interested in. Navigate to the Education section and you’ll find information about what percentage of people working in that field have a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, post-doctoral degree, or another degree type. That should give you an idea of what kind of education you should be considering for your career field.


What’s Next?

If you have any interest in going to Grad School, keep up with Professional Edge this month! We’ll continue to post information you should know as you consider your Graduate Pathways.

See you at our Graduate Pathways Month Kickoff Celebration!


Other Graduate Pathways Month Events

Shaping Your Future at Graduate School

Choosing the Right Graduate School

Paying for Graduate School

An Evening with Don Asher

Graduate & Professional School Fair