There are several reasons why a graduating senior would aspire to attend graduate school. With ever-growing competition in the professional space and an evolving job market, graduate school has become a more common option for California Baptist University students facing the end of their undergraduate years.
Kimberly Gledhill, CBU master of social work student, explained that her desire to attend grad school came early in her years as an undergraduate student at CBU.
“I became interested in grad school when I started college,” Gledhill said. “I realized that it was quite important for the field I’m in.”
Pursuing a master’s degree provides the opportunity to dive deeper into the student’s major area of study. Graduate students research, plan and evaluate the general concepts learned from their undergraduate field of study.
Stephanie Fluitt, graduate admissions counselor, said graduate school is beneficial because of the deepened layer of study it provides.
“A student would consider attending graduate school to learn more about a field they love and to become more knowledgeable and skilled,” said Fluitt. “While your undergrad experience to earn a bachelor’s has a focus with your major, it is still fairly broad and exposes you to a wide field of knowledge. You will enjoy some types of courses more than others, and that is normal. graduate school is different, deeply focusing on one field and helping you gain professional knowledge.”
While there are many options and opportunities the graduate school provides, students must come to their own conclusion as to why grad school is the best for them.
For Gledhill, she wanted to pursue her social work license, which a master of social work degree would allow her to obtain.
“My desire to become licensed, and the faculty of the MSW program at CBU led me to grad school here,” Gledhill said.
While a master’s degree may sound appealing in theory, the graduate school process is not meant for everyone to pursue.
According to Elizabeth Pryor, CBU alumna, graduate school is an investment that should only be pursued if the student possesses a desire to obtain a master’s degree.
“I think going to grad school really depends on the person and their desired career,” Pryor said. “While I do think grad school can be beneficial for some people, I don’t think everyone needs to go to grad school to be successful. You should not feel pressured into going to grad school. It’s an investment and commitment, so it’s important to be passionate about the program you are entering.”
Obtaining a master’s degree is a journey that can be straining to the individual. According to Gledhill, students need to be patient with themselves.
“It’s important to have a lot of grace with yourself,” Gledhill said. “Grad school is definitely more intense than undergrad and demands a lot of your time and energy. It’s okay if you don’t do well on a test. It’s okay if you have to cut back on hours at work. Taking care of yourself and your needs is a priority.”
Another aspect of grad school is building connections with professors as undergraduate students. For Pryor, working with professors during the application process is an experience on its own.
“I would highly suggest getting a head start on the application process and communicating with your professors for letters of recommendation,” Pryor said. “For me, the application process was daunting because I was nervous about asking professors for letters of recommendation, but professors are more than willing to help and answer any questions you have about grad school.”
The CBU graduate admissions office offers a variety of options for students to learn more about the master’s degrees that the school offers.
“Students can learn more about graduate admissions in a variety of ways,” Fluitt said. “There is a wealth of information online at https://calbaptist.edu/admissions/graduate/ or you can participate in an information session for your program: https://calbaptist.edu/admissions/graduate/info-sessions. Specific programs have specific grad admissions counselors, so if you know what you want to study, look up that particular counselor and request more information or contact them directly. They will appreciate you doing your homework beforehand and presenting any questions you were not able to find the answers to online. You can also call graduate admissions at 951-343-4249.”