Undergraduates find graduate school beneficial after graduation

By Gus Bode

Like many students, Sara Wiechert is hoping to walk across the stage and into a position in the area which she will receive her degree. After four years in college, Wiechert, a dental technology major, is certainly ecstatic about receiving her bachelor’s degree. However, she is not as certain about what she plans to do after receiving this degree.

“The most difficult thing has probably been lining everything up, with classes and having my program under review, I’ve definitely had a lot on my plate,” said Wiechert, a graduating senior in dental technology from Fairfield. “Any other semester around this time I would be leaving. But in the past I’ve had to come back. Now it’s like, I’m leaving and I’m not coming back.”

Wiechert, who said she applied to a laboratory position in St. Louis, said her preference would be to obtain a position after graduation. But if things do not work out the way that she planned, Wiechert said she has already registered to return to school.


Though students are often grateful to complete their college career, according to David Wilson, associate dean and director of the Graduate School, many find shortly after departing college that it would be in their best interest to return as graduate school.

“We get some undeclared graduate students who decide that they are going to go to back to graduate school because maybe they had a job and didn’t like it,” Wilson said. “Many students who take part in graduate school have a well-formulated idea of what they want to do and have their goals in mind.”

At this point, Wilson said they could not be certain of exact numbers as far as graduate school as a whole is concerned. This is to due to the fact that registration deadlines vary by department. But he was able to say that interest in graduate school seemed steady and the department received the usual amount of interest, with a definite increase in February and April.

Pat McNeil, associate dean of the Graduate School, said she is happy to see a steady interest in graduate school. But despite this interest, McNeil still hopes to see a continual increase in enrollment in graduate school, which is becoming more essential for students.

“There’s a couple of reasons why people go to grad school, ” McNeil said one reason is that the bachelor’s degree is looking more and more like a high school diploma. Then there is also that advanced training and understanding about a specific area of study.

“You have a lot of employers who are looking for that something else with applicants, and a lot of times grad school is that minimum.”

McNeil said if she had any advice to those considering graduate school, it would be to start preparing early on. She said graduate school sponsors GRE practice tests and she has personally helped to organize several seminars throughout the semester. She said a common concern of students is having to college for another two or even four years.


Though she realizes the importance of maintaining academic excellence on the undergraduate level, she also emphasizes the importance deciding post-bachelor’s degree plans. McNeil said though there is some apprehension from students who are not certain they want to do.

“A lot of students will say I can’t put my life on whole for graduate [graduate school], but it’s about that feeling of community and knowing you’ve gone that extra mile,” McNeil said. “This way they have the basic information about the program and even if they don’t decide to go they still have that information. It hurts me to see students who are in their senior year that walk in here and say, ‘I’m about to graduate, now what do I do?'”