Straight to Grad School after Undergrad | Simone Jackson @TheFabGrad
I am the creator of TheFabGrad. The Fab Grad is a resource for college graduates looking for inspiration, motivation, and advice about life after college. From how to land your first job to tips on how to get ready for grad school, I share my journey and lessons learned as a Post-Grad based in Los Angeles.
The decision to go to straight to grad school right after undergrad is one that takes a lot of preparation and self-reflection. In your self-reflection, one of the first questions you want to ask yourself is, “What do I LOVE to do without anyone having to ask me to do it?”. Your answer doesn’t have to be super formal. In fact, my list looked something like: watching fashion and beauty influencers on Youtube, binge watching Say Yes to the Dress on Lifetime, being involved on campus, and planning sorority events. Once you have your list you can then begin to think about what career fields would fit well with your natural skills, interests, and hobbies.
Note that I haven’t said anything about applying to a program just yet. Why? Because going to grad school should not be something you do just because it sounds good, makes sense with your undergraduate degree, or will make you more money eventually. Trust me, you’ll be miserable in your program still trying to figure out if you made the right decision if you go to grad school for those reasons alone. Go to grad school because you have a passion that you want to be formally educated on outside of your everyday work experience. If you find that your career field doesn’t require a Master’s degree right away or you would be more competitive with more work experience, then work until you find a reason to need a Master’s degree.
For me, I realized that my love for being a student leader, planning events, and working with others in an upbeat environment fit perfectly in the field of higher education and student affairs. After looking more into the field, I found that in order to get ahead faster, I would need a Master’s degree. Now in my second year of grad school about to graduate in May (hooray!), I’m still secure in my decision to pursue higher education and my Master’s degree immediately, because I found something that matches what I love to do and who I am!
I also said going to grad school right after undergrad requires preparation. All of this decision making and self-reflection would need to be done while you are still in your senior year of college. While it sounds easy, this can be very stressful! Preparing for admissions exams (GRE, LSAT, GMAT, etc.), writing personal statements, possibly taking out loans, getting letters of recommendations, preparing for on-campus interviews (booking flights or missing school to do so), paying application fees, paying for official transcripts, etc. I could write an entire post about the graduate school application process alone! But if you aren’t ready to think about all of this during your senior year, it is OKAY! Take a break after graduation, enjoy your last year as a college student, celebrate your accomplishments as a soon-to-be college graduate, and most importantly take time during your senior year to learn more about yourself and your interests.