So you’re about to graduate college – congrats! What now?
As the economy recovers, so does the job market, allowing new opportunities to emerge. This is great news for those who are currently in college! However, many of these jobs require candidates to have more than an undergraduate degree. It is predicted that 2.6 million new jobs will be created between 2010 and 2020, and that individuals with masters or doctoral degrees will be the ones to fill those spots.
Many students are turning to graduate school as a way of carving a niche for themselves in today’s competitive job market. Grad school can be a risky bet which could land you in a deep pit of student loan debt, or it could result in a dream job with a six-digit salary. Such a commitment requires a great deal of research, and with the growing number of programs offered it can quickly become an overwhelming process. Meeting with advisers and professors is a great starting point, but most students will want to do some investigating on their own. It is important to gather a wide variety of non-biased information, but with the endless amount of websites, books and blog articles dedicated to “facts” about grad school, it can be difficult to find high-quality sources. This is why I recommend U.S. News & World Report’s annual Grad Guide.
Each year, U.S. News & World Report surveys thousands of programs and academic professionals to create a guidebook that helps students navigate the world of graduate school. For the second year in a row, eCampus.com has taken some key information from this elaborate, 200+ page grad guide and created an infographic to help students streamline their research. The goal behind this piece, as with all infographics, is to take a large amount of information and condense it into a unique graphic that’s easy to understand. Similar to the 2013 grad school infographic, The Good & The Bad in Bad, this 2014 edition highlights trends regarding admissions, debt and salaries for the top five professional fields (Business, Education, Engineering, Health & Medicine and Law).
New this year is a section called the “Virtual Path”, which describes the growth in options for online graduate programs. There is also the option to attend a partially online program, where some classroom attendance is required. Such opportunities are favored among non-traditional students who may have children or a full-time job. As this trend increases you will find that there are some great resources for affordable online education programs.
As graduate school becomes a more prevalent option for those holding college degrees, it is important that this decision is made with all of the right information at hand. This infographic should not be used to replace your grad school research, but it is a great way to quickly gather information and gain an understanding of new trends in the academic and professional worlds.
Good luck to all who join me in the pursuit of a higher-education!
To view the full infographic, and purchase your copy of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Graduate Schools 2014 guidebook at 10% off list price, visit http://www.ecampus.com/best-grad-schools.asp or click the above image.
As we progress through different stages of life, we realize that many things we considered as constants have changed dramatically or vanished altogether. That naïve sense of security we felt as we were running through playgrounds is no longer there and neither is the soothing embrace of our parents after we fell and scraped our knees. In middle school, we realized that others could be mean. In high school, we suddenly realized that we were growing up and responsibilities came flooding in. Some lost sleep because of their social life. Others were kept up by academic anxiety or thoughts of the future. No matter the reason, what we all felt was frantic; it was startling, but it was natural.
Adulthood doesn’t lightly knock on the door – it often busts it down. No wonder that so many dream of being “forever young.” Being able to legally purchase a drink or enter your favorite social venue are meager payoffs for intrusive thoughts of complete independence. Doesn’t it feel so freeing to be away from mom and dad? It does…until your bank account begins to hover right above the big zero or you’re in your bunked bed, miserable with a fever, longing for a few words of encouragement that will certainly not come from your absent roommate. Oh, to be a freshman again! To harbor thoughts of college adventures beyond the wildest high school dreams. As eager we are to get away from the shackles of normality, the unfortunate truth remains – we long for steadiness and support. It’s easier being a dependent, and it really begins to show once you pass the midway point of your undergraduate career.
Lately, I’ve been losing sleep. These issues have been in and out of my head for the longest time, but they become especially prominent when you’re on the brink of graduation. Being a first semester senior spells many things, of which most prominent is sleep deprivation. Whether you’re obsessing over an upcoming exam (or, in my wretched case, the LSAT) or are just unable to fall asleep before an ungodly hour, you’re likely a walking zombie and you will remain that way. What’s that you say? Going to bed at ten tonight because you have a test in the morning? Interesting theory, but wholly impractical. Insomnia is within the essence of college culture. The time you’ll be spending tossing and turning in a dark room to the rhythm of the neighbor’s iTunes playlist would be better spent in your neighbors room raging uncontrollably. Okay, okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little. You shouldn’t blow things off just because your environment doesn’t allow you to pursue them in the way you’d like. It would be to your benefit, however, to discard any notions of normality that happen to be lingering in your brain from your cozy “normal” life. Welcome to adulthood, a realm where a “sleep schedule” is virtually an undefined term, where a helping hand doesn’t come cheap, and where your previous reality might as well be a fairy tale.
As important as it is for you as a college student to follow your passions, you first and foremost must find your passion. As I shared in the first post of this series, I had a hard time discovering what it was I was really interested in, and then applying that to my major choice. I think a lot of students get stuck choosing a career path based on what their parents are urging them to do, rather than discovering what they’re interested in themselves. Some students, especially with the recent decrease in available jobs, chose majors solely based on the potential salary or job security.
Granted, I’m still just a student (for 7 more months, at least), but I believe it’s so incredibly important for students to find a field that they’re truly passionate about, and to continue to pursue that career path, regardless of how unattainable it might seem. We’ve all heard it a countless number of times, but I think there is so much truth to the idea that you’ll never work a day in your life if you’re doing something you truly love.
The hard part for me was actually finding that one thing that I’m passionate about. Just recently, I became interested in photography, specifically wedding photography. I’ve spent the last six months or so getting as much experience with wedding photography as possible. This usually means volunteering countless hours to assisting professionals for free (more about this in the next post), but I am so relieved to have finally found something that I’m truly excited about and motivated to pursue.
What really helped me discover my interest in photography, was tuning into my everyday life, specifically how I was spending my free time. I became absolutely obsessed with Pinterest and spent countless hours swooning over dreamy images of exquisite brides and beautiful weddings. There were a handful of wedding photographers who I followed, and was constantly gawking over their photos every free minute I had. It wasn’t until I was gifted a pretty new Canon, that I realized this might really be something to pursue. I immediately enrolled in a photo class, contacted wedding photographers in the area, and began learning all that I could about the industry.
For those of you who are still struggling to discover your passion, don’t be discouraged, and trust that if you just stay true to yourself, it will all fall into place.