Do You Really Need To Go To Grad School?

Posted Jun 10 2012 - 12:00pm

Still deciding what to do when you grow up? Don’t worry- you’re not alone when it comes to figuring out your future. With a tough job market, many of you might be debating whether it’s a good idea to continue further education, especially in a economic time like this. Her Campus is here to guide you through the grad-school process and whether graduate school might be right for you!

Grad school university college campusFor all graduate schools, whether it's an online masters degree or law school, it’ll be like applying to college again. You’ll need to send your transcript, recommendations, and your resume. Your essays will be much more specialized, according to the field you are choosing to study. Below is a list of a few fields of study, what test they require and whether it is a good idea to pursue more years of study in the given field.

Just so we have the lingo down:

  • LSAT: Law School Admissions Test
  • MCAT : Medical College Admission Test
  • GRE: Graduate Record Test
  • GMAT: Graduate Management Admission Test
  • PCAT: Pharmacy College Admission Test
  • DAT: Dental Admissions Test.


law school balance equalityLaw School: test to take: LSAT – If you want to be a lawyer, you’ll have to go to law school. Typically it takes about three years to complete. When you take the LSAT and apply to law school is all up to you. Some people take some time off after their bachelors to gain some work experience while others take the LSAT the summer before or after their senior year.  Joanne Karchmer, the Director of Career Services at UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law suggests that undergraduate students spend some time working in a legal setting before choosing to attend law school. “Attending law school is an enormous personal and financial commitment and one that should not be entered into without adequate self-assessment,” she says. The benefits of working in a legal setting are that it not only allows students to see how lawyers work in a professional setting but also gives students and recent graduates the opportunity to learn how to handle themselves effectively in the workplace as their first post-graduate job says Karchmer.

The Bottom Line: If you decide you want to be a lawyer, you have to go to law school.

(Want to read even more about the road to law school?  Check out this article. )

medical students doctors nursing health Medical School: test to take: MCAT – To be a doctor, medical school is mandatory – no way around it. Some schools offer intensive programs that you can apply for while you’re an undergraduate. However, many people take the MCAT the summer before their senior year of college if they want to apply during the fall of their senior year. Many wait after they have graduated and give themselves some time off before attending medical school. The path to being a doctor is long and grueling. Medical school in itself is four years. Your residency is like an internship at a hospital, and the length is determined by your specialty. It can range from one to six years. After that you may do an advanced fellowship for a very specialized position which can also range from one to three years.

The Bottom Line: Medical school is an absolute must for wannabe doctors.

Dental School: Test to take: DAT - Dental School is similar to medical school. In order to be a dentist, or an orthodontist, you must attend dental school. It is a minimum of four years. After you finish that you may have the option of specializing in orthodontics. Most programs require an additional two or three year residency. Jaimin Surati, who just graduated from Boston University, will be attending University of Louisville Dental School in Kentucky in the fall. “Since I entered college I knew I wanted to go to dental school, so I studied biology, took my DATs my junior year and applied in the fall,” Surati said. 

The Bottom Line: Want to be a dentist, orthodontist or an oral surgeon? Go to dental school.


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