It seems like the fall semester has been flying by- midterms are over, and soon enough, it will be Thanksgiving. I can’t believe that, after this semester, my senior year of college will almost be over.
With May rapidly approaching, more and more people have started asking me what my plans are once I graduate.
After interning for a few magazines, I could definitely see myself working at one in the future. The magazine industry isn’t doing too well right now, though; a lot of magazines have been decreasing the size of their staffs. During my first internship in the spring 2009 semester, I learned that more than 200 employees had been let go from the corporation I was working for.
Many magazines have even folded, with some moving to a purely online format, and retaining only a handful of editors. Because jobs are so scarce in the field I want to go into, I enrolled in the five-year B.A/M.A. program at St. John’s to obtain my master’s degree in English.
But it’s not just journalism that’s being affected; jobs are hard to find across the board. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national unemployment rate hit 9.8 percent in September, and the unemployment rate for those between the ages of 20-24 also surged. And according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, an organization of career counselors, employers say they will hire 22 percent fewer college graduates than they did last year.
This is why many current college students are turning to graduate school as an alternative to entering the job market right after obtaining a bachelor’s degree.
According to the Council of Graduate Schools, the number of students enrolled in graduate school increased by almost five percent from the 2007-08 to the 2008-09 school year.
While the prospect of attending school for another two years (or more, depending on what kind of program you do) may seem daunting, there are definitely benefits.
Since the job market is so competitive these days with fewer jobs available, having a master’s degree may just give you the advantage you need over your competitors in order to obtain a full-time job. Some jobs might even pay you more if you have a master’s degree. Graduate school is also a lot more flexible; most classes meet in the evening, so you could work part-time or intern during the day and still finish your degree.
If you do want to attend graduate school, you should start preparing as soon as possible. First, research the degree you’d like to get and see which schools offer it.
Contact whoever is in charge of that program and set up a time that you can tour the university or sit in on a class. You’ll also need to take the GREs, a standardized test much like the SATs.
You may even want to consider staying at St. John’s. If you are currently a sophomore or a junior and are thinking about graduate school, I would recommend looking into the five-year program offered in many of the departments here at St. John’s, which is the program that I’m enrolled in. If you get in to the program, you can start taking graduate level courses during your junior year and you’ll only be in school for one extra year. I decided to take this route because I was already comfortable with this university, I knew the professors and, the best part-I didn’t have to take the GREs!
St. John’s is having a Graduate Open House on Nov. 11- even if you’re not 100 percent sure if grad school is for you, it’s worth attending this event just to get a feel for what kind of degrees are out there and if there are any that might interest you. I’ve decided to get my degree in English because I feel that it is very versatile; even if I don’t pursue a career in journalism, I could use my degree in English to break into other fields that interest me, such as publishing or teaching.
Graduate school isn’t for everyone. But because of the current economic state, it’s definitely something that every college student should consider.