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I want to go to graduate school only for personal reasons and not professional reasons?

Rchunt55Rchunt55 17 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
Basically I know a company will sometimes fund grad school for its employees and a lot of people have told me to wait. However, during my undergrad I did something called "independent learning contract" where I completed a semester long research project and I actually enjoyed it. I kind of discovered that I'd like to collaboratively work on research with other students so grad school feels like something I would find interesting. I do plan on getting a professional career but since this is a terminal degree, I'd like to eventually teach college level. That being said, I want to use my professional career as experience actually in my field and then I want to take that experience into academia years later.

The issue is: I'm graduating this spring and although people tell me to wait, I feel like in terms of my research it makes sense to continue where I left off but at graduate level.

Is this a good idea?
edited August 1
14 replies
Post edited by MaineLonghorn on
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Replies to: I want to go to graduate school only for personal reasons and not professional reasons?

  • Rchunt55Rchunt55 17 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited August 1
    I'm also terrified of waiting and taking a few gap years between my undergrad and graduate school. Grad school has always been something I've wanted and I'm scared life will happen and I'll end up dropping this expectation
    edited August 1
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 6597 replies54 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 1
    "In terms of my research"

    Do you mean that you have a specific area of research that you want to pursue, or do you mean in able to keep doing research in general? Based on your other posts, I am going on the assumption that it's the latter, but if it is the former, then it's a PhD you want, not a Masters.

    Your other posts on this subject have replies from @juillet. Pro tip: she knows what she's talking about (there's a reason she's a Super-Mod). Go re-read her replies.

    From the above, in college you discovered that you like to do research and you like working collaboratively, and you want to keep doing that. So, now you think you want to work, but also go to grad school on the side to be able to have those things. I think that you are taking the wrong lesson from this! You can get both of those things [i}from your job[/i]. Put your energy into figuring out what those jobs are, and then go work on getting them. When you have, IF you find that a graduate degree will take your farther in your field THEN you will have a good reason to do a grad degree - and you will know what kind of degree you want/need.

    The investment of your time and money into grad school is always best done when you have a clear, compelling reason (or 3) for doing it*. When you apply you typically have to write a "Statement of Purpose". Based on your 3 posts, you don't have a clear and compelling reason to do a Masters at this time.

    *being afraid you won't ever get around to it is not a good reason
    edited August 1
    Post edited by MaineLonghorn on
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  • EmpireappleEmpireapple 1663 replies25 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    If you can afford graduate school now go for it! It's so important to listen to your own voice and yours is loud and clear. So many people go through life not knowing what they want. You do - embrace it and enjoy it!
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  • suzyQ7suzyQ7 3956 replies55 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    What field?
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  • Rchunt55Rchunt55 17 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I asked a similar question, not the same question but something similar. I didn't get the insight I needed and those questions covered college selection.

    1. The degree I'm seeking is terminal. It's the highest level of education in my field. Doing my school search I've only seen 2 universities provide a PhD in my field. I studied visual communication/studio arts and doing a graduate program (MFA) is as high as I can go.

    2. The program I'm seeking says it's for people who want to advance their careers and it's meant for students interested in leadership roles (executive, art director, creative director, project manager, Team leader...etc) I'd like to work myself up to those roles but I want my qualifications under my belt.

    3. The program I'm looking at is 100% online from accredited university.

    4. I never shared my statement of intent on here. There is no way you can properly evaluate if I have good reasons or not. Wanting to continue my education because I'm passionate about the topic is a good reason imo.

    I appreciate the super mods reply but I'm aware that there's some biased opinions. When I look at the kind of jobs I'd like to work up to, I see that they normally say something like "MFA in design thinking or related field is preferred" and even then, they state they want 5+ years of experience in a related field. That being said, I feel like I can get my foot in the door if I come out of my educational experience already having what I need and using the rest of the time building experience.

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  • Rchunt55Rchunt55 17 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I appreciate the positive responses cheering me on.

    In my city a bachelors degree isn't enough, there's some competition and I just want to be prepared to level up. Everyone has their bachelors but I want to show employers that I pursued this on my own and wanted to take my degree to the highest level.

    I think I'm going to do it! A mentor of mine explained how hard it is getting a job with just their bachelors because more and more people decide to seek graduate degrees.

    (I'm also aware of employer reimbursements)
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  • CheddarcheeseMNCheddarcheeseMN 3345 replies11 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    For students considering an MBA, the better schools want you to work first so that it will later make sense to come out of grad school looking for leadership roles. In the OP’s case, the MFA according to his description is intended for people seeking leadership roles. You don’t get hired to be the leader of the experienced employees if you have no work experience. The online MFA is less likely to even provide internship experience. I recommend looking for work and perhaps start the online MFA while you are employed.
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  • Rchunt55Rchunt55 17 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Again, I stated in my post that I would need to get experience. You can't get a leadership role without experience. I plan on using my undergrad degree right out of college. To clear things up, I got my degree in Visual Communication. I plan on looking for a job in a related field. However, the job is 'final' meaning I can move into senior design but after that, there's no higher level. The Creative and Art director jobs I'd like to work up to require MFA's in a related field AND years of experience.

    My thinking: If I use my visual communications degree and I work within a company under their art director aka working in a visual team, after a few years working with that company I'll have enough experience to move up.

    HOWEVER, if they decide to hire in house I assume they're not going to wait for me to complete my 2 years of grad school, they'll spend time scouting people with all the appropriate credentials before their interview/them considering a potential hire.

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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 6597 replies54 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Imo,
    ' my degree will take me up to x level in my chosen field, then I will need an MFA to progress / there is an online MFA that I can do part time while I work in the field and start getting experience so is going to grad school now a good idea'
    is a *completely* different question- it is, in fact going to grad scool for professional reasons.

    Your original question was more along the lines of 'I want to keep doing research and working on collaborative projects like I'm doing in college and I am afraid of losing momentum so is going to grad school now a good idea'?
    I assume

    You are making assumptions about hypotheticals, with no experience to back that up. Lots of companies won't pay for an MFA, plenty of companies have promoted internal people with no or partially completed qualifications, not every company is going to respect your online degree, not every company will require an MFA (I know more Creative Directors w/o MFAs than I do with- but that's in NY, so it might be different in your city) and you don't even really know yet if you want that hypothetical job.

    But: imo your subsequent posts belie your original question ("is this a good idea")- it sounds as if you are set on doing it either way.
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  • Rchunt55Rchunt55 17 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Correct. I am set on doing it because I'm realizing this "advice" I'm getting is most likely coming from an older generation that most likely lacks the correct credentials needed for getting a decent job in todays market. College students are walking out with grad degrees. A little undergrad degree just isn't going to cut it in today's market because everyone and their mother has one. I grew up with parents that majored in computer science and they're not doing too well now because the job market evolved.

    Again with the uneducated assumptions... the online degree program I'm seeking comes from a regular accredited university with a physical campus. It provides regular degrees (actual classes) and online classes. So please explain why a company wouldn't recognize my degree? I would be applying to the school and getting admitted just like any other student they serve. I would work with the same professors. I would learn the same material. My degree would look exactly like everyone else's and as far as I know, I don't have to list "obtained online" on my resume because I would be admitted to school and treated like any other student/alum. Only difference? I'll be obtaining my material online because I need the flexibility for my work schedule.

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  • Rchunt55Rchunt55 17 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    This thread can be closed now. I got the information needed. I can't say I'm not disappointed with the responses though.

    I'm asking questions aimed at someone who has already went through a similar process. No one has provided me any decent advice or shared their first hand experience. I'm not sure who I'm talking to or the motives behind the answers. Not one person said something like, "back when I went to grad school..." or "My experience with grad school..."

    All I'm getting is a bunch of discouraging comments from strangers that can't provide where they're getting their information or insight. On top of the fact that it's a weekday at a time where most people would be at work or something. I think that alone tells me what I need to know...

    I try not to comment on topics I have zero firsthand experience with.

    Thank you
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  • Rchunt55Rchunt55 17 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I've definitely heard of people getting into that job without their MFA. It sounds like New York is more of a networking situation, in my city the jobs I see require experience and the appropriate credentials.

    I'm extremely passionate about my field and would like to further my education for personal reasons/personal satisfaction. The idea that it might boost me up to my dream career in a few years is also a perk. I'm also interested in teaching at college level one day, when I get sick with working in a professional field since this is a terminal degree...this is also a perk.

    I don't NEED it but it sure would secure my resume some attention and consideration.

    I'm looking at a situation where I can: A. Have work experience and maybe get promoted based. OR
    B. Have 6 years of education, have a portfolio AND my MFA in a related field.
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  • Rchunt55Rchunt55 17 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Edit:

    A. Have my undergrad degree and some work experience.

    B. Have 6 years of education in the field. Have some work experience and have a solid portfolio.

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  • happymomof1happymomof1 29606 replies173 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @Rchunt55 - I know this is a slightly older thread, and don't know if you have found more answers. Here is what I've learned about MFA-type programs from my own kid, and about online degrees from my own experience.

    Happykid is a fully-funded MFA candidate in theater design. She worked for four years before starting her program. Her program expects a great deal of independence of the students (whether that is intentional or simply a result of slightly flaky professors I can't say). Consequently, the with more real-world experience are happy to be allowed their independence, but students straight from college struggle. Two of the straight-from-college students are seriously contemplating leaving the program. Her advice would be that you take the job, make some money, and then pursue the MFA after you have a bit more experience. After a year or two, you will know whether or not you do want an MFA or perhaps a different kind of Master program, and if an MFA whether you are still interested in the one you have been looking at or if you want a different one.

    I completed an MS back on-campus, and an MSEd in a completely distance ed format. Distance ed requires much more self-discipline and organization than a live setting. If the work is asynchronous, you might find yourself with very little feedback from your classmates who complete the work much more quickly or much more slowly than you do. If the work has hard due dates, you might not get as much feedback as you'd like because everyone is rushing to finish off their posts on Blackboard at the last minute. You really need to pace yourself and run your own race without expectation of much from your classmates. If there are a lot of required group/team projects and you get good partners, then you are more likely to have decent feedback. My advice would be for you to work for a bit, and then see how a grad program fits into your schedule. An online program that can be completed on a part time basis while you work may well be the better choice for you.
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