Why Graduate School
The starting point in the application process should be: “Why graduate school?” Many graduate programs expect you to address this question in your personal statement. While the answer to this question will vary from student to student, the two most common reasons are as follows:
- Intellectual curiosity: Graduate school is for training in research. It is the training ground for the top notch professionals and researchers in a field of study. In fact, all Ph.D. degrees, regardless of discipline are research degrees. It is for people who love research, scholarship, and teaching for their own sake and for the difference they can make in society. It is not for people who simply want more undergraduate courses. It is not for people who are in a hurry to get a real job. And, it is not for people who simply want to make a lot of money. Indeed, the eventual goal of many doctoral students is to get a job as a college professor, or perhaps as a researcher in the private sector or government agency.
- Professional advancement/development: Graduate school provides advanced opportunities for creative expression in the arts or in research. This will, in turn, open up new opportunities at higher levels of responsibility in business, government, and the nonprofit sector. In today’s increasingly technological world, the jobs in the work force are becoming more complex. Consequently, an advanced degree may mean the difference between routine paper shuffling jobs and policy making positions.
Whatever your reason may be, it takes a great deal of commitment and self discipline to pursue a graduate degree. Choosing the right graduate program will allow you to experience a lot of interesting, rewarding, and very busy years in grad school. There is also no question that you will meet some of the most interesting and intellectual people ever!
Most universities provide detailed information regarding their graduate programs on the Internet. Browsing though university web sites will allow you to narrow down the number of graduate programs that you are considering. Before you begin the application process, we strongly encourage you to look at the graduate program requirements to determine if the application process will be worthwhile. You can also learn more about the various graduate programs offered by UCF at http://www.graduate.ucf.edu/.