Many options await seniors
Published: Thursday, October 25, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 25, 2012 00:10
As seniors begin picking classes for what may be their last semester at the University of Connecticut, they may be thinking about one certain question: what to do after getting their diplomas on graduation day?
There are a plethora of different routes students who have just graduated may choose to pursue. Students may decide to attend a graduate institution and receive a higher degree in his or her respected field. They may choose to start a career right away, getting their foot in the door. They may choose to do something completely different and new with their lives, volunteering to teach English in a different country or working for Teach for America.
The “Post-Graduate Statistics” page on the Career Services website, career.uconn.edu, lists statistics about what students decide to do after college. For instance, in 2010, out of the 4,606 students who graduated, 1,304 responded to a poll asking what their plans were after graduation–80 percent were to be employed full or part time, 33 percent would be attending graduate school, and nine percent would be neither employed nor in graduate school.
Nancy Bilmes, the Associate Director of Career Services, believes that there are many different paths to success that students can take. Graduate school, she said, is a good path to go down if necessary to achieve a career goal.
“Usually students know what they want to do and if it requires a graduate degree, then I think it is beneficial for students to attend a graduate school,” said Bilmes. “For example, if a student wants to become a lawyer, then it is advantageous to go to law school.”
Other students choose to take a year or two off before deciding to apply to graduate school.
“I think it really depends what field you are going into,” said Austin Milan, a 7th-semester kinesiology major. “I’ll be taking a year off, hopefully working at Dana Farber, doing cancer research before attending either PA or medical school. In my opinion, taking a year off in the science field gives you an advantage because it gives you a year to get another experience under your belt.”
Bilmes agrees that there is an advantage to getting work experience before attending graduate school.
“If students are not sure what they want to do, it is beneficial to get some work done before,” she said. “There are some graduate programs that require you to have work experience beforehand, so having this ‘real-world’ experience can really help you.”
Some careers do not even require graduate school, allowing students to start working right away after graduation.
“I am going into the workforce to work for a public accounting firm and not going to graduate school because I’ll have enough credits where I won’t need to,” said Ashley Desjardins, 7th-semester accounting major. “I need 150 credits to be a Certified Public Accountant, and it doesn’t matter if all is from undergrad credit or part is from masters. Someday, however, I might consider getting a Masters of Business Administration degree.”
Another option for students is to expand their boundaries and take the year after they graduate to see the world, volunteer, or just have an experience different from anything they had ever done.
“I think post-graduate service, such as Teach for America, is great and gives opportunities to students who either do not know what they or want to do, or who want to give back,” said Bilmes. “They develop many skills from these programs that they can use in the future.”
Career Services offers many supportive services for students including resume review, practice interviews and career fairs.
“We encourage students to use Career Services because we offer excellent opportunities for students to learn how to work their resumes, connect with employers and start the process of finding a career that best suits their needs,” said Bilmes.