Are low ranked grad and post grad only good for people who are unambitious?

I didn’t do so well in undergrad, but I didn’t put in as much effort as I could have, so I was thinking of pursuing a masters in a different field such as engineering, animal/physical science, or English/History education, but I think even if I get into a low ranked program, it will only lead to small unambitious dead end jobs. Trade school doesn’t have anything I’m looking for, vet tech sounds boring and depressing with having to help put animals down and just doing mostly secretary type work.

It depends on what you mean by low ranked, and in the field. I am inclined to say no - they are good for a variety of reasons. Sometimes people can only afford their public regional campus; some fields are not prestige-hungry/they don’t care where you got your master’s, and some people only need an MA to earn more money at work.

One thing, though, is that graduate school builds upon undergraduate knowledge - so you have to get a grad degree in a field you already have some coursework in. In other words, unless you majored in physics, math, or an engineering field you’re unlikely to be competitive for an engineering degree. Likewise, unless you majored in English, you might not be competitive for an English MA. (The exception is program that are designed for non-majors to switch fields.)

My major is mass comm, don’t want to pursue a masters in that field (waste of money. Would I have to get second bachelors?

Depends. In theory, you would just need to take the prerequisite coursework to get into these programs, which you could do as a non-degree student at a local public college. If you wanted to get into an engineering master’s, you’d have to take so many prerequisite classes that you probably might as well get a second BS. For English or history education, you shouldn’t have to, but you would need to take certain prereqs (and also remember that there are licensure requirements so you have to find out how many classes you need to satisfy those). For example, UF’s M.Ed in English education requires

Required Degree/Coursework: A degree in English or in a related area with at least 15 hours of literature and coursework in advanced writing. A passing score on the Florida Teacher Certification Subject-Area Exam in English will be required of all students before graduation. The exam requires facility with literature, literary movements, writing, and grammar.

15 hours is about 5 courses in literature and writing - but of course, at competitive programs most competitive students will have more than the minimums. I would imagine that social studies education is about the same, so I would expect to take at least 5-7 courses in either field if that’s what you want to do.

Same thing with animal or physical science. You’d be expected to take the equivalent of a major’s worth of courses, which is usually around 10-12 courses.

K-12 education is not overly prestige-hungry but how prestige-hungry are engineering or animal science?

I would say that probably depends on what you want to do with it. If you wanted to be a software engineer at Apple or Google, going to a low-ranked program won’t help you much - they tend to recruit from top programs. But if you just want to be an engineer in general, at a local firm - well, then it probably doesn’t matter as much. There are some folks in engineering and the sciences here who can probably comment more fully than I (a social scientist) can. But that’s what I’ve heard from the engineering parents on CC who do hiring in the field.

The education level I would go to would be post-secondary not K-12.

Problem with local firms, its much harder to work you way up the ladder to top positions.

Because I don’t follow a road to to one of those low-level unambitious careers.

My dad worked his way up to a doctorate from the University of Minnesota, after attending similar colleges previously. He is an electrical engineer, and has been at his current medical device company for many years. Some of his “equals” include people of similar age with doctorates from Ivy League to state schools, and an even greater variety of colleges prior to their doctorates.

How highly is the University of Minnesota? I bet its still pretty competitive.

Best in the state for engineering, but then again, there are very few colleges/universities with engineering programs in MN past undergrad.

Is there a university in your area where you can enroll in a class or two, get good grades, and then make a more informed choice about what you would choose for your graduate field of study? For example, you might want to see how you would do in calculus courses if you would like to be an engineer. In any field, getting As would improve your academic record.

If you are interested in English, have you thought about how you could make better use of your existing communications degree? In a different post, you said that you wanted to be a writer. Do you blog, or volunteer to write articles for a local weekly paper? These activities might help make your graduate application more attractive.

Do you have connections with faculty who could write letters of recommendation for you?

With a degree in communications, you have a lot of prerequisites to take to switch into engineering. First among them are three semesters of Calculus plus differential equations. Then you will need to take university physics and then a bunch of engineering courses.

Maybe some at my previous University. But I haven’t talked to them in a long time. Most communication jobs right now are for PR and Marketing type work. I don’t write anything on a blog, but I do movie reviews for the local paper. I do write on my spare time, but haven’t found too many jobs for it. Maybe I should go back for an undergrad teaching degree first, or whatever is required.

@Alucard43, if you wanted to teach post-secondary (aka college) then you would have to get a PhD, not a master’s. It’s unclear whether you want to teach English (so teaching writing and literature classes to college students) or English *education/i. If you want to teach English at the college level, you’d need to get a PhD in English and then find a tenure-track job in that field, which is a very very competitive field. In your situation, you’d need to get an MA in English first - which you would most likely need to pay for, out of pocket. You also would need to get involved in English literature scholarship.

If you wanted to teach future English teachers, you’d need to be an English teacher yourself for at least 3 years, which brings us back to where we are now. You’d need to get an M.Ed in English education, teach for some years (3 is the minimum; more is better) and then apply to English education PhD programs.

In both cases the PhD is usually funded (less so with English education) but you would have to pay for the master’s first. The point is that you can’t teach college-level English with a master’s, at least not as a full-time salaried professor.

Ok. Not entirely sure on education, but some people have told they thought it would be good route because I’m having a career I would like to pursue. My dream job would be to work in film, media, or perhaps the sciences but I was not outgoing, ambitious, and often sensitive and easily distracted. Still paying for my past mistakes, and just not sure if I can ever fix it.