To Go or Not to Go: Considering Graduate School

Sunset Crossroads

There are lots of reasons why people choose to go to graduate schools and pursue advanced degrees.  Deciding to go is a complex decision that involves the outlook for increased earnings and deepened learning in a field of study.  Although there are a plethora of reasons why to go, we’ll explore a few good reasons why not to go to graduate school.

An article called “The Five Worst Reasons to Go to Grad School” provides some useful tips for when to avoid graduate school.  Here are the five reasons, paraphrased:

1.  To Fill a Personal Void

You are more than your degrees.  Graduate school is great for people who find their zest from studying particular topics in-depth but doesn’t tend to be an effective patch for the holes in one’s life.

2.  For bragging rights

Graduate school is a hefty undertaking, and it will take time and money.  There are cheaper ways to obtain a positive reputation.

3.  Buying your way into a network

You will join a new network if you go to graduate school, but you are likely already a part of many networks (including the UVM community) and these will grow throughout your career, with or without graduate school.

4.  It’s the only way to get a job

Some jobs do require advanced degrees and some prefer them.  But there are lots of career opportunities for people with Bachelor’s degrees.  Employers want dedicated and skilled workers, and those skills can be developed in a plethora of ways.

5. It’s what to do when you’re lacking direction

Graduate school is not the place to discover your life’s path or career journey.  The strongest graduate school candidate’s know what they want to study and why.  Not with meticulous detailed measure, necessarily, but enough to have a vision for where the process might lead.

Ultimately, the decision to go to graduate school should be based on much reflection and consideration and it is yours to make.  To learn more about the ins and outs of considering and applying to graduate school, visit the Career Services website.

~Ashley Michelle

Navigating Your Way to the Right Law School

Law Balance in the Sky

Finding the right law school can be a daunting task. You must weigh the costs and benefits of earning a J.D. as well as determine what will make your law school experience fulfilling. Examine the following important areas:

Evaluate specialty, experience and training opportunities

Specialized courses, clinics and professional skills training opportunities tailored to your interests can provide valuable knowledge and lay the foundation for your legal career.  Learn about which schools provide valuable hands-on experiences, allowing you to work with clients and practicing attorneys.

These opportunities, are ideal for discovering your passion, honing your skills, and making connections with future employers.  Think about where and in what field you will want to practice after graduation.

Professional guidance and support

Look at a school’s available resources that you will  utilize throughout your experience, including the number and type of student groups as well as career services such as career fairs and alumni networks.  When thinking about future employment, be sure to look at the school’s employment statistics for graduates to see what type of work they tend to pursue.

Evaluate financial assistance options side-by-side with tuition and fees

When considering law school, cost should be a top priority.  Law school is not cheap and often requires large student loans.  Be realistic!  Assess your financial situation and determine the availability of aid as well as repayment options after graduation.

Check out Equal Justice Works Guide to Law Schools, which allows you to examine a school’s available curricula, financial aid options, and staff and faculty engagement.

Radhika Singh Miller, guest blogger, serves as program manager of educational debt relief and outreach at Equal Justice Works

You can find more resources and information on the Career Services Considering Pre-Law and Applying to Law School pages.

Also, don’t miss the Law School Panel: Mon, Sept 24th 4-5:30pm. Davis Center, Jost Foundation Room!

Savvy Seniors: Let’s get Started

Clocks and Watches

Welcome back Seniors!

It’s here, Senior Year, your final year at UVM. Surprising how quickly time has gone by?

Your Senior Year is sure to be the same: a blur of homework assignments and social activities that’s over before you know it. However you measure it, or choose to spend it, time is passing.  It’s said that how you spend your time reflects your values and shows what you really care about.

Before you get too busy, take a moment and think about where you want to be nine months from now. What steps can you take in the coming year to take you where you want to go? How will you use this time to prepare to transition to work and the “real world”? As Franklin Field said, “The great dividing line between success and failure can be expressed in five words: I did not have time.“

So make some time to start the year off right by dropping by Career Services for Careers and Coffee, our kickoff Senior Event.  Pick up the Senior Packet, eat cookies, drink coffee and chat with a counselor about your plans for life after college.

Careers and Coffee, Wed Sept 19th, 3-5pm at Career Services L&L 140

Watch for workshops and blog posts throughout the year with more advice on networking, interviewing and more, just for Seniors!

“The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.“ – C. S. Lewis


World of Work: Deanna Cameron ’91, Ronald MacDonald House Charities

Deanna CameronDeanna Cameron ‘91
Program Coordinator
Ronald MacDonald House Charities –
Burlington, VT
Major: Social Work

What motivates you to go to work everyday?

I’ve always been someone who needs to really believe in the cause that I’m working for, so that personal connection to the cause is a huge motivation for me. My niece and nephew were born prematurely and Ronald McDonald House was there for my sister-in-law during the three weeks that the babies were in the hospital. I saw first-hand how the support of Ronald McDonald House Charities strengthens families at a very difficult time.

How would you describe what you do on a typical day?

My typical day consists of the following:

  • Our number one priority at Ronald McDonald House Charities is the comfort of our guests. So each day starts out with a house “check-in” in which we review our current guests, any new guests checking in, and address any guests needs.
  • I also manage the nearly 200 active volunteers who cover eight shifts daily in our programs. A large part of my job is ensuring that each of these invaluable volunteers has a meaningful experience serving our organization. I set up month-long volunteer schedules for both the House and in the Ronald McDonald Family Room located at Vermont Children’s Hospital at Fletcher Allen Health Care.
  • The second half of my job is fundraising. Depending on the time of year, I may be planning our next fundraising event. I update the agency’s day-to-day communications and social media to keep our supporters up to date on what we’re doing. I also do community outreach to share our cause and needs. And from time to time, I even get to snuggle a beautiful baby who is staying with us.

Tell us about your path to this position.

I definitely could not have imagined where my degree in social work would take me when I graduated. Early in my career my work was oriented toward direct service, doing case management with a variety of populations such as emotionally disabled teen girls and homeless/marginally housed individuals. From these experiences, I moved onto doing some program development in the housing field, which sparked my interest in this type of work.

The mix of direct service work with clients and managing the operations of service programs has proven to be the perfect combination of challenges to suit my skill set. I have been able to expand on this even more in my last two positions where I’ve also become involved in fundraising–both working with donors and on events.

What advice do you have for students searching for jobs or internships in your field?

Volunteerism is a great way to take your career in different directions as well as a means to network with a new circle of colleagues. In the non-profit world where every penny is accounted for, new projects are often started solely with volunteer efforts. As greater value and need is placed on these new projects, staffing can be added to the budget and those that volunteered may then be considered for the new paid position(s). I wouldn’t advise students to volunteer with the goal of acquiring a paid position, but as a way to enhance their talents and explore an interest that may not be fulfilled in other ways.