grad school

2014 Best Grad Schools:Inside the Guide [An Infographic]

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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.

Best Grad Schools Infographic

 

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.

The Good & The Bad in Grad [An Infographic]

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Are you approaching graduation and thinking about going to grad school? Or maybe you’ve been out of school for several years and are contemplating a return, but you’re wondering if it’s worth it. This is a question that many soon-to-be, as well as current, college graduates are faced with on a daily basis. When taking into consideration the present state of the job market, more and more students are turning to higher education as a means of differentiating themselves and taking their careers to the next level. The decision to pursue grad school has also become a way of “buying” more time and avoiding the harsh realities of our slowly recovering economy.

Grad school, U.S. News & World Report

Click the image above to view the full infographic.

However, making the decision to go to graduate school is not as simple as one would hope. Students are forced to look into the inevitable financial burdens and intense time commitments associated with graduate level programs. Throughout this process students scour the web for trustworthy information on various programs and career paths to consider. One of the most credible sources they rely on is the U.S. News & World Report.

Each year they release a guidebook to the Best Grad Schools in the nation, but for the first time ever eCampus.com has decided to put a new spin on these rankings by creating an innovative visual in the form of an infographic. Using their findings on the top five professional fields (Business, Health & Medicine, Law, Engineering and Education), we’ve managed to take a large amount of useful information and condense it into a unique, easy to digest graphic. Our goal here, as with all of our infographics,  is to bring you a large amount of practical information in the fastest and easiest way possible.

This infographic provides some of the hard-to-swallow facts about graduate school, and whether or not the time and money spent obtaining that advanced degree will really yield the results many students are hopeful for. With “The Good and Bad in Grad” exposed, eCampus.com hopes this fun and helpful visual guides prospective grad students to make the right decision for their future. What are your thoughts? Is Grad school something you’ve been considering?

To access the full infographic, please click the image.

Should Fine Arts Majors Pursue MFAs?

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We’ve heard it before.  You’re sitting perhaps at the library, in the dining hall, or somewhere else around campus and you hear the conversation between the biology/pre-med student and the art major.  They’re having a “colorful” argument about who’s bound to get the higher-paying job.  Sometimes it’s not a specific conversation you hear, but just a general consensus at school that pre-business, pre-law, and pre-med students will naturally earn more money in the long run.

When it comes down to it, this could be true a lot of the time.  Working in a much-needed field usually renders an opportunity to land a job sooner and with higher benefits.  So for us arts majors (I’m currently studying Creative Writing and Dance at my school), we are left with a dilemma:  are our futures unsecured?

Not necessarily.  When you get creative (literally), you’ll find that there are a lot of opportunities you can have as a fine arts student.  Just because you may not be attending a conservatory or an arts school doesn’t mean you won’t have job security (and likewise, just by attending one of those schools doesn’t always guarantee you will have job security).

In the end, it comes down to your own abilities and skills.  However, some people think that’s not enough, and hence we introduce the Master of Fine Arts option (MFA).

There are various reasons that arts majors prefer to go to graduate school for an MFA.  The benefits include:

The opportunity to harness your skills in an educational setting for a little while longer

The possibility of more job security if the employer is looking for someone with a higher degree than just an associate’s or bachelor’s

The possibility of more job security if the employer is looking for someone with a higher degree than just an associate’s or bachelor’s

The potential for higher pay

The ability to teach at a university (graduate degrees are required to do so)

It’s great for your resume in general

Many MFA programs (like in Creative Writing, for example) will cover much, if not all, of the cost to attend

However, given the possible benefits, there are also drawbacks to consider when looking at programs:

The cost to apply (application fee + ordering official transcripts, if required)

The cost to attend (if not enough financial aid is offered)

If a future employer is choosing based primarily on talent and skill, an MFA does not always cut it (great for the resume, but only your work samples will push you to the top)

Even with an MFA, if an employer would like to see someone with experience, your education level does not always suffice

As a rising senior at my university, I am also in this dilemma.  It requires quite a chunk of change to apply to these programs.  I also need to consider the fact that an MFA might help my resume, but based on where I apply to work, I could also need prior experience in my field.

The Solution? 

Feel free to apply to a few MFA programs your senior year, perhaps the ones you want to go to most.  If you get into some, that’s great—but if not, you now have plenty of opportunities to gain experience in the working world.  Your GRE scores are good for five years as well, so you don’t have to retake that graduate school exam during that period of time.  Sometimes, if you’re fortunate, after you decide to go for an MFA later on your employer may pay some, or all, of your tuition.

Many MFA programs, after all, are like employers in a sense.  They like to see someone with experience in their field as well—and both have the ability to benefit you in the course of your career.

 

 

 

Should You Go to Grad School?

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The following is a guest post from Margaret Mannix the Executive Editor of U.S. News & World Report’s best-selling higher education reference books, including Best Graduate Schools 2013 and Best Colleges 2012.

Given today’s economic turmoil, corporate belt-tightening, and abysmal unemployment rate, a second degree could mean a higher salary, a big career boost if you’re already out there in the working world, or an exciting new direction if you’re still floundering around with that part-time job at the mall. It’s a pricey proposition—you’re talking tuition and fees of $9,000 at public universities and more than $20,000 at private schools—but the payoff could be tremendous: People with master’s degrees earn more over their lifetimes than those with baccalaureate degrees.

For many of you 20-somethings, the decision might be a no-brainer. Coming out of grad school in your 20s or early 30s means you’ll have decades of high-earning power. And just think what that fatter paycheck will help with—rent, clothes, a car, and those student loan payments that seem to have no end. But—and this is a huge caveat—pulling in the big bucks in this day and age depends on your chosen field. The median salary for someone with a master’s in engineering is $107,600, according to a recent report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. That’s more than twice what someone with a master’s in English will earn.

Here are some things to think about if grad school is on your horizon (and you’ll find much more advice in our just-published Best Graduate Schools 2013 book!):

*Do your homework—and not just in choosing a program. Grill the career service people at all the schools you’re researching: Ask how many grads got jobs, what kind, and how long it took to get them. Ask about the long-term career path. Ask about the starting salaries for the jobs—and when you can expect a bump up in pay. Ask where all the good jobs are.

*For aspiring B-school grads, while the boom times aren’t back yet, there are definitely some bright spots. The tech sector is hiring more M.B.A.s, and international firms are seeking talented grads to help them take advantage of emerging markets like China.

*Prospects for newly minted engineers are excellent, with robust demand across the board—especially in electrical, biomedical, aerospace, computer, mechanical, and petroleum engineering, to name a few.

*Med school applicants will find that primary care practitioners are enjoying a seller’s market. Openings for nurse practitioners and physician assistants abound, too, and get this: One expert told U.S. News that more than 90 percent of people with a master’s in nursing nab a job within six months of graduating.

*Would-be J.D.’s might want to consider healthcare and intellectual property law, which are showing signs of rejuvenation thanks to recent legislation on healthcare, patents, and financial services.

eCampus.com has the absolute lowest price you will find for the Best Graduate Schools 2013 guide.