The Arka Tech

Graduate school, the truth

Editorial: ed·i·to·ri·al
[ed-i-tawr-ee-uhl, -tohr-] noun:
An article that represents the official viewpoint of a newspaper on a topic of public interest.


According to a student demographics chart on atu.edu, graduate school enrollment is up from 530 students in the spring of 2008 to 849 in the spring of 2016. Going to graduate school has apparently become a trend, and more and more people are considering going to graduate school either here at Tech or at other colleges. We at The Arka Tech have two graduate students on staff, and we believe that there are many misconceptions that come with being a graduate student and we would like to dispel some myths and give some advice.

Many people believe, or assume, that to get a graduate degree you must go immediately after earning your undergraduate degree. However, according to a report by the Council of Graduate Schools, in 2007, 31 percent of all graduate students are 25-years-old or older, and that number has only grown. You do not immediately have to go to graduate school, unless you are wanting to do something that requires an upper level degree. You can take time off, go out into the workforce, explore the world and then make a final, well-informed decision.

A professor in the English department, who has a doctorate degree, once told an Advanced Composition class, “A master’s degree opens a lot of doors.” What this professor meant, is that getting a master’s degree allows students to unlock a slew of opportunities that a bachelor’s degree just can’t give them. Teachers who hold graduate degrees are paid better, and this is the case in many fields. According to an article on usnews.com, graduate degree holders between the ages of 21 to 64, make over $10,000 more than their undergraduate holding counterparts.

Earning a master’s degree can also help you earn a job. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 2.4 percent of master’s degree holders are unemployed. This means that only around three master’s degree holders out of every 100 are unemployed.

While earning a master’s degree is incredibly beneficial and allows you to explore your interests more fully and in-depth, it’s tough. Earning a master’s degree, is a lot like climbing a mountain. You start out doing it because you enjoy it, then it gets tough and painful, and then it gets to that point where you’re just trying to get done because it’s much easier than turning back. It becomes a pride issue. More than likely, your future career employers will know this and it will give you an edge because they know you can persevere and have the tenacity to make it during challenging times.

The decision to get a master’s degree should come from you and not from your parents or your friends or because everyone else is doing it or because you have no other plans after graduation. Climbing a mountain isn’t a light, easy decision. Neither is getting a master’s degree. We encourage you to further your education if it’s something you want to do, and we encourage you to do extensive research before you settle on a college and a program. Beware taking the GRE, some degrees require it and some don’t, so look into your degree and know before you go.

And to all you grad students out there yanking your hair out this semester, you’re not alone. We’re all going through it. And you are smart enough to do this.