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MEd, DEd, or PhD? (Higher Education)


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After applying fruitlessly for academic advisor/career counselor positions around the country, I figure that it's time to go back to school (which makes me sad since this is the first year I am not currently enrolled in a class since K).

I'm unsure whether I should obtain another MEd (I earned one in Secondary Education from ASU while in TFA) or go for a doctorate; either PhD or DEd.

I have a 3.59 Undergrad GPA(major:finance), 3.92 Grad GPA & was in TFA (not as valuable as one might think but still). I scored a 160V 163Q 4.5W on my GRE.

So I have many questions:

Which level of degree should I pursue?

What schools could I expect to get into? (the last thing I want to do is apply for PhD and be left out all together but I also would like to go to a school with a little name recognition and one with many opportunities to gain experience through assistantships).

I'm currently looking at Penn State (my undergrad college), Vandy, Harvard, and Syracuse. But again I'm not really sure where I fit in, in terms of credentials.

Any help would be appreciated!

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Do you have any higher education professional experience beyond the bachelor's degree? If the answer is no, I would not recommend PhD programs in higher education because you lack relevant work and research experience. If you want to make a career transition to higher education, then the master's degree is the better route. What are your career goals: student affairs or general higher education (policy, management, curriculum, etc.)?

Edited by michigan girl
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  • 2 weeks later...

If it's any idea on your chances... here are my stats, it's rather similar to yours.

Undergrad GPA: 3.0 (Biology)

Masters GPA: 4.0 (Obtained at MAT@USC while doing TFA in Detroit)

Teach for America - Detroit: Taught for 2 years.

GRE: Verbal: 700, Quant: 800, Writing: 5.0

Applied during the start of my 2nd year in TFA, got into a PhD program at USC the very following year. I can also tell you that outside of TFA, I have NEVER had ANY education experience before (I was a Bio researcher in undergrad, and went straight to TFA)

Therefore, you stand a chance, and your stats are more than enough. You just want to frame your SOP very carefully, it'll make or break you. So as for which program you choose, you need to KNOW that very carefully before you apply, fit is everything.

So start with this: are you interested in pursuing academic research? Because a PhD is definitely a road down that path. Most become tenure-track faculty, although some black sheep like myself will use it to pursue consulting, think-tanks...etc, but definitely research-centered. If the answer is yes, then know WHAT research interests you have, and go find the prominent authors in literature and see what programs they came out of, and are currently teaching at. That'll guide you a bit. :D

More than happy to answer any other questions you may have.

(PS, It's either a PhD or an EdD. :P)

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