“Enrolling in graduate school immediately after completing an undergraduate program caused me to be very enthusiastic.” Although the desire to complete graduate school was great, a challenging dilemma existed. After completing sixty percent of the graduate school program, the management with a federal agency offered me an important job. All of a sudden, I had to decide if it was best to continue the graduate school program or accept the job. Accepting the job and satisfying its requirements disallowed me to complete the required classes within the established time frame.
Because getting a graduate degree was a personal goal, I never lost the desire to obtain one. After retiring from the federal agency and waiting twenty eight years, the opportunity to return to graduate school evolved once again. This time, however, my endeavors led me to the field of education. Completing the education degree introduced me to some new characteristics concerning graduate school. Combining knowledge, from both enrollments in graduate schools, provided me with a repertoire that will help other potential graduate students.
Reason for Education
Students should know the reason for returning to school. I believed my academic business was unfinished due to coming close to a graduate degree the first time. After becoming a foreign language teacher I felt the advanced education degree would enhance my teaching practice. Students must decide what classes are best for them. The classes are offered on weekends, nights, and during regular school hours. There are also online classes and blended ones. A blended class is a mixture of online study combined with classroom visits. Understanding the reason for completing a graduate level education is critical. It provides the student a sense of direction throughout the entire program.
When enrolling in a graduate program, students should obtain a university catalog. It will show how many classes can be transferred from another university to their current university, how many credits must be completed at the current university to receive a degree from there, and how many years are allowed to complete the program. Some schools allow five years and some seven years. Graduate programs must be completed within the time frame established by the university that awards the degree. However, if a student can’t complete the program on time a waiver might be granted. This depends on university policies and how close the student is to program completion when the established time period expires.
Availability of Benefits
Military Veterans should read information made available through the Department of Veterans Affairs and the benefits coordinator of their school. They should choose the GI Bill they qualify for and most suitable for their educational program. Usually veterans can use two different GI Bills for a total of 48 months. They must be eligible for benefits prior to using any of them. If a veteran has exhausted all educational benefits and must use personal funds, some schools offer reduced tuition for veterans.
If a student leaves a graduate program prior to completing it due to employment, the student should consider how work experience will help them. Working provides valuable experience, and it opens a door of opportunity. It’s possible the work experience could be credited towards an internship and hours of completed course work. The work, however, must be related to the graduate level course of study. The proper department chair must be contacted to start the process of determining if an internship credit can be awarded for work performed. This action must be taken in a timely manner. Any delay could mean not being able to complete the graduate program in the time frame established by the university.
Graduate school is research oriented. Students must be prepared to do extensive research. Some schools require capstone projects for degree completion. These are detailed research projects covering specific topic areas. The technical aspects of writing can be obtained from the proper writing manuals and the capstone research professor. Students should choose topics of personal interest to research if possible. They lead to more student enthusiasm and cause learning to be fun.