10 things graduate schools won't tell you


I was lucky (?) enough to enter grad school just as the economy was beginning to tank, so a few of these didn’t apply to me. But a number do — and will to a lot of new grads out there.

Read on, and check out all the details in the full piece on The Wall Street Journal’s Smartmoney.com,

  1. We may not be the place to hide out in a slow economy.” A lot of recent college grads are pursuing and advanced degree, and the job market may not be able to take them — or pay them enough — when they get out.
  2. “We’re not just about the numbers.” Grades and good GRE scores are no longer enough. Several years of job experience may be necessary.

  3. “You’ll be competing with the whole world to get in.” Foreign students are applying in greater numbers, and they’re tough to beat — especially their GRE math scores.
  4. “Our second-tier status may hamper your career.” A study by PayScale.com shows a Harvard business grad earns double that of a grad from a lower-tier state school.
  5. “A fellowship? Don’t count on it.” At Cornell University, for example, 97 percent of doctoral candidates get aid. Only 37 percent of those getting a master’s do.
  6. “Graduating with big debts is your problem—not ours.” Before applying, figure out first whether the average salary in your field after graduation will support your debt. Loan payments shouldn’t exceed 20 percent of gross income.
  7. “This isn’t just an extension of college.” But many grad schools these days prod students into specialties. Know what you want to do before you apply.

  8. “Not everybody finishes.” Between 40 and 50 percent of doctoral students leave before finishing, and with master’s candidates it’s 20 to 40 percent.
  9. “It’s not our job to get you a job…” Most of a college’s career-placement resources go toward undergrads.
  10. “…and we kind of fudge the stats on students who get jobs.” The surveys generally don’t reveal response rates. Many master’s students are already employed. And the school might hire unemployed grads for research or department work — and count that toward its job-placement rate.