League students offer guidance as graduate applications increase

Get the latest Syracuse news delivered straight to your inbox.
Subscribe to our newsletter here.

Calvin Milliner, a graduate student at Syracuse University, never expected to end up in college.

Milliner played football during his undergraduate career at Assumption College and wanted to pursue a career in professional football until COVID-19 rolls back those plans. He reassessed his career plans and chose to apply for graduate studies, eventually ending up at the Newhouse School of Public Communications to pursue a master’s degree in magazine, news, and digital journalism.

The milliner is not the only student on an unconventional path to higher education. Paola González received her undergraduate degree at the League in International Relations and French before realizing that she did not want to pursue a career in international relations. Through the Forever Orange Scholarship, which offers SU 2021 graduates 50% off their tuition fees, González saw higher education as a feasible way to find a new career path. She is now also at Newhouse to pursue the MND Masters Degree.

The number of Americans with master’s degrees rose from 10.4 million in 2000 to 21 million in 2018, according to the US Census Bureau. With the increase in the number of people pursuing higher education, admissions to these programs are becoming increasingly competitive. According to the Council of Graduate Schools, applications to the United States increased 7.3% for the fall 2020 semester.


Connecting with people who are already enrolled in graduate programs is a good way to gain insight into both the application process and the programs, said Phillandra Smith, SU doctoral student in special education and studies. handicap. She also recommended contacting universities to get a better idea of ​​the programs.

“Once I identified the schools, I emailed people in the schools to find out what the application process looks like, what kind of things are you looking for in the student,” Smith said. . “Just so that I can make a very informed decision about whether or not I wanted to fill out an application, because (the applications) are not free.” “

Finances are a factor to consider when applying to graduate schools, said Daniel Olson-Bang, director of professional and career development for SU Graduate School. The application fee for SU graduate programs is $ 75 and the cost of participation for graduate students is $ 54,085.80.

“People should know what kinds of careers there are on the other side of (college). They should have some idea of ​​how it will connect to a future career, how long it will take and how much it will cost, ”Olson-Bang said.

Finances are an important consideration when applying for graduate programs, but so is location, said Haydn Jones, a third-year law student at SU Law School.

“For me, the location and the cost of the tuition (were important),” Jones said. “I’ve been thinking about where I want to work in the future… you have a better chance of finding a job in the area (when you graduate). “

Reflecting on his own graduate application process, Newhouse graduate student Cale Clinton emphasized the importance of doing research.

“Connecting with current employees or former students will help you make the best decision for you,” Clinton said.

Many students wonder whether they should pursue graduate studies or a gap year straight after their undergraduate studies, Olson-Bang said. They worry if they don’t apply right away, they might end up never applying, he said.

Olson-Bang pursued his masters straight out of undergraduate studies. He then took a three-year break between his master’s program and his doctoral program. He doesn’t think there is anything wrong with either of these decisions, but does think there are some overlooked benefits to taking a year off.

“(In the meantime) you can get a glimpse of yourself and what you’re really looking for. You might have the benefit, if you wait, of having an employer paying you to go to school instead of doing it yourself, ”Olson-Bang said. “You might have a better understanding – because you’re already in the job market – what type of program would work best for you. ”

González entered college straight from undergraduate and sees the benefits of both paths.

“I feel like for some people, if you take a year off, you kind of feel comfortable doing nothing. And then you lose the motivation to actually go and start working, ”González said. “But if you go to graduate straight from undergrad like I did, I graduated in May and started graduate in July. It’s very, very exhausting, and it takes its toll.

Milliner said that students who are committed to learning and improving academically will especially thrive in graduate school.

“At undergraduate level, we can fall into the trap or habit that we expect… to go to college, so we don’t fully immerse ourselves in the undergraduate experience,” Milliner said. “So I would say graduate school is for those who are ready to learn, ready to really experience what an education is. “

Contact Shantel: [email protected] | @ shantelguzman2

Comments are closed.