Dodging the recession, grads head back to school
May 20, 2009 3:44 PM
With a teetering economy, some graduates hesitate entering the workforce, and instead, opt to ride out the recession in graduate school.
But many still question whether the deferring of their future career is the best choice.
For some SF State students, such as Jessica Warren, there is no question about going to graduate school.
Warren, a 23-year-old psychology major graduating this fall, thinks graduate school is essential "if you want to be in something specific."
"Psychology is such a large field that you need to continue with school on something specific," she said, of her own reasoning to go to graduate school.
"I want to study mental disorders through the brain, so furthering my education is pretty much required."
Warren will not turn her back on graduate school.
"For me, because it's so necessary, I am willing to invest more on my education," she said. "I think the investment will pay off because, in the end, I will be able to do the work I want to do."
According to Jack Brewer, director of SF State's Career Center, there are fields that require a master's degree to succeed in them, such as medical or law.
"Don't automatically assume that going to grad school will be beneficial for a tight job market," said Brewer. "Do some investigating first and see if it's right for you."
Noris Gomez, a 27-year-old civil engineering major graduating this spring, believes work experience would benefit her more than continuing education.
"For my career choice, work experience would be better," Gomez said. "From what I hear, grad school is recommended. I went to dinners with engineers and they mentioned that it's not a good time to leave school. If you can't find a job within six months, they encouraged you to continue with your masters, which does make sense because you're not forgetting what you learn."
Gomez has taken the advice into consideration and plans to go back to school eventually.
"But that would be later in the future," she said. "Right now, all I really want to do is have a break from school and actually practice what I've learned."
Yi Huang, a 22-year-old psychology major graduating this fall, always envisioned graduate school in her future, but is now planning to focus on career opportunities instead.
"My impression is to look for a job as quick as I can," said Huang. "I'm not so sure that higher education will satisfy my needs for my career. I want to be able to pay rent, my car and be able to eat. I might apply later on in the future when I feel I can be able to afford that."
For Huang, graduate school seems like it would hold her back.
"I think that gaining work experience is more important because in these days, employers seem to look for more experience," said Huang. "And more experience will ultimately help you in school when you go back."
This fall, the Career Center's Graduate School Fair expects to have an increase in student interest, according to Brewer.
"We typically see in an economic recession, when the job market is poor, for student interest in graduate schools to go up," said Brewer.
But Brian Gallagher, director of Graduate Admissions, added that graduate admission professionals predicted that there would be no rise in graduate school applicants this year.
"We won't know until the coming fall whether or not these predictions have proven true for graduate schools overall," said Gallagher.
Recent statistics from a fall application comparison data from the campus database show a 12 percent increase in the number of graduate school applicants for SF State compared to this time last year.
"There is growing recognition within the workforce that pursuing graduate education can lead to greater opportunities for employment, earning and advancement," Gallagher said.
"Again, applicants need to consider how earning a graduate degree will benefit them."
"The most important thing is to speak to someone who's already established in your career field," he said. "Ask them, 'should I go to graduate school now? What type of graduate program would be a match for this career?'"
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