Making a choice between graduate school and starting a career can come with huge commitments, and grad schools’ early application deadlines often add to the uncertainty and stress of life after graduation. But what if you can have both?
Many representatives from professional graduate programs who talk to NYU Abu Dhabi students about their programs actually recommend working before graduate school and their reasons make a whole lot of sense.
1. Working before professional graduate school is not the exception. It’s the norm.
Professional graduate schools develop their programs around the ultimate goal of preparing students for their careers after graduation. Therefore, class discussions often require students to use their previous professional experiences to strengthen otherwise theoretical debates. One representative from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) says that more than 50 percent of their incoming class enroll after 1-2 years of work experience, and these students tend to be more mature and benefit more from the classes.
2. Work experience helps you find the right fit with the right grad school.
An admissions officer from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) emphasizes that what schools look for in their candidates is “the fit”. With professional schools, that means candidates have to be certain about their passion in particular fields, and how exactly the school can help them achieve their career goals. SIPA has only 12 to 15 percent of its classes entering straight from undergrad, and these students are exceptional ones who demonstrate a continuous commitment in social change and public interest throughout their undergraduate education.