Titans strive to continue school

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Peter Klemek / For the Daily Titan

The possibility of entering grad school is a question most students ask as they approach their final year in school.

The problem facing many college students in regards to graduate programs is that most students panic, start doing a bit of research and do not know where to go from there.

Elizabeth Zavala-Acevez, interim associate director of the Career Center, said the process of applying and deciding whether or not to go to graduate school is more extensive than applying for college right out of high school.

Students can begin looking toward applying to graduate school programs as early as freshman year, but it isn’t until their first year as upperclassmen that they should seriously begin their research.

“Your junior year is when you really need to start getting more serious about asking for assistance from the Career Center, faculty, or going to grad expos,” said Zavala-Acevez.

Zavala-Acevez said on a national level, about 30-35 percent of students enter a graduate level program within a few years from graduating with an undergraduate degree.

The Career Center at Cal State Fullerton is looking to change the mindset of students and encourage them to consider a graduate degree as a first priority before entering the workforce.

Miguel Martinez, employer relations specialist, said the center is using the Grad Expo, and more importantly Grad School Prep Week, to provide students with information.

“The idea is to not just give (students) information but have them prepare themselves for the challenges and the endeavors that is grad school,” said Martinez.

Many students fear the unknown venture that is a graduate school program, and so, the Career Center provides the necessary information, as well as providing workshops that assist in resume building and interview etiquette.

This year’s Grad Expo offered students the opportunity to meet with representatives of  various schools in California. Titans had the chance to speak to admission consultants who explained the advantages of their respective school’s graduate programs, as well as the admission requirements.

Priscilla Powers, graduate and international admissions coordinator for the College of Engineering and Computer Science at CSUF, suggests that students go into a graduate program because it offers more experience in the work field.

Many graduate programs are now intertwined with certain internship opportunities, allowing students to gain valuable work experience while maintaining the ongoing pursuit of a higher education.

Uting Hsu, 21, a business administration major with an emphasis on marketing, said graduate school is valuable for the opportunities it provides.

“The connections that you can build in grad school and just being able to network and gaining internship experience are the big reasons why I want to go to grad school,” said Hsu.

Hsu said she uses the resources on campus to learn of certain opportunities to better familiarize herself with the graduate school process. It was at the Career Center where she learned about the expo and the workshops it provides.

She was impressed by the big turnout and excited that many of her questions will be answered at the end of the day she said.

David Alaman, 22, a human services major, is prepared to enter the workforce after graduating in May.

However, he does see himself entering a graduate program in the near future. Although he feels like his major has limited graduate school opportunities, he does feel like a graduate degree is something that should be taken into consideration.

The Graduate School Expo and Graduate School Prep Week are offered once a year, but the resources don’t end there.

Throughout the year, the Career Center offers various workshops to assist students in the process of applying to a graduate program, and hosts presentations by different schools to provide grad school information.

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