Students prepare for more education at Grad School Prep event

In Features
Jessica Pineda / Daily Titan
Jessica Pineda / Daily Titan

For about a quarter of the Cal State Fullerton undergraduate student population, graduation is just around the corner.

Some might be one of the lucky few to land their dream job right after graduation. Others might struggle for months or even years to find a decent job to pay the bills, let alone a job that correlates to their major.

Others, however, aim to continue their education by going on to earn their master’s or even doctorate degrees.

Students seeking to take that next step in their education soaked up useful information provided during Grad School Prep weeks that began on Sept. 24.

From the Titan Student Union to Langsdorf Hall, events were hosted by the Career Center to help students kick start their graduate school experience.

With the changing tides of the job market, a bachelor’s degree often doesn’t cut it and many jobs look for education that goes beyond the four-year degree.

“The number of jobs that require a graduate education are increasing over time,” Patricia Literte, associate professor of sociology at CSUF and academic coordinator for the McNair Scholars program, said.

With more jobs requiring a master’s or doctorate degree many students approaching the threshold of graduation find the increased demand for education difficult.

“A lot of students don’t know how to take that route,” Gina Teddington, a 21-year-old criminal justice major and student assistant at the Career Center, said.

Teddington said she will be attending law school next fall.

Literte spoke at the event,  “Graduate School: Why? When? How?” and provided students with information about what is required for a graduate school application, how to succeed once admitted into a graduate program, and why earning a master’s degree is important.

“A lot of times in job descriptions, you’ll see something like ‘bachelor’s degree required,’” Literte said. “You want to think of required as just being the base level.”

Literte, who received both her master’s and Ph.D. in sociology from USC, knows the graduate school application process from her own personal experience.

However, she did not have a wealth of knowledge on what the application process entails.

Because of this she is an advocate for undergraduate students seeking out guidance and education in this area.

The application process for a graduate program is significantly more demanding than undergraduate applications.

Not only are GPAs and packed resumés important factors in being accepted into a graduate program, students must also be able to submit glowing letters of recommendations from professors.

Because of this, it is crucial to build close connections with professors and faculty Literte said.

When it comes to succeeding in graduate school after the application has been submitted, the acceptance letter is received, and the work begins, being proactive is key.

“In grad school, you are expected to be inquisitive,” Literte said.

Showing an eagerness to learn and not being afraid to be wrong are important characteristics of being a successful graduate student, Literte said.

Rather than just learning and absorbing knowledge as in an undergraduate program, graduate students are expected to be “producers of knowledge,” Literte said.

Although standardized testing and general education courses are eliminated in grad school, the workload does become more rigorous.

“At the master’s level things do get more intense and more is expected out of you,” Literte said.

Kinesiology major Isaiah Pulido, 23, left the speaker event with a better grasp on what he needs to do to prepare for grad school.

It is “never too early” to begin preparing for grad school, Pulido said.

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