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From Undergrad to Graduate School-What are your reasons?


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I notice that there have been a slight portion of applicants who are going straight from undergrad to graduate school. Of course, we all have our own reasons for when we decide to go back to school at a certain point in life. But, I am curious to know from other undergrads why they have decided to go to straight to graduate school right after completing their undergraduate studies.

 

I'll come back and post my reasons later today. I have things to do on campus at the moment, lol. Thanks a lot!

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I took a gap year after high school and realized my life outside of the academy is well lifeless. The academy might give me a whole lot of stress but, for some odd reason, my body loves the stress and cannot seem to live without it.

 

I also really love the idea of researching about topics that I like and being on my own, especially away from these general education classes that have nothing to do with my field (yeah, I know well-rounded student).

 

Also, student loans... (this was a soft factor but still mattered).

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I applied directly from undergrad to graduate because this is what I love doing. It sounds cheesy, but learning is a lifelong passion and I didn't see the point in doing a job for a year and then coming back to my graduate studies. For a lot of people, that really works for them, but for me, I knew what I wanted to do and where I eventually want to end up, so why procrastinate?

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I agree with happy little pill.

 

Ever since I was small I have had a passion for learning and I have always loved the academic environment. I knew that I wanted to continue my education after undergrad before I had even graduated high school. My ultimate goal with my PhD is to be able to teach and remain further in the academic setting and nurture minds like what my teachers/professors did for me. And since that's a huge dream, I just didn't want to put it on hold!

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I've had an idea of what I wanted to do when I was an undergrad but wanted to solidify my plans so I joined the BS/MS program. Now that I'm finishing off the MS part I know that finishing off the PhD will allow me to go down the career path I want instead of working for 15 yrs to gain enough experience. 

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I didn't always want to go to graduate school. There were times during my long undergraduate career that I thought maybe I wanted to get my masters and others times that I thought it would be best if I just got a job and started paying off my student loans first.

 

When I changed my major to biology and started getting involved in ecological research, I knew I wanted to do more of it and as much as possible. So I decided to go straight to grad school. Besides, at this point, if I went out and got a job, I'd probably end up staying there for a long time, because I'd get comfortable in the position. Of course, I could always find a job that really sucks, which would motivate me to apply to grad school sooner than later.

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I had a shift in my focus about halfway through my undergraduate degree and decided I wanted to be an engineer. Job prospects in my BS field were pretty bleak--either shift supervisor or QA/QC tech, which are jobs that I've had for internships and they bored me to death. I really love research and I want to eventually get a PhD and be in academia. Rather than change majors for my undergrad degree halfway through and extend it longer than necessary, I decided to transition into engineering for grad school and skip a job I'd probably hate for better prospects after a MS degree.

 

I plan to take time off between my MS and PhD though. I am not planning to stay out for long since my passion is in research and I find industry to be horribly boring, but I feel as if working in a company for a couple of years at most will help me to be able to address relevant industry issues in my future research.

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I decided my junior year that I wanted to teach college-age students, which requires a graduate degree. Also, I wanted to try research.

 

I didn't know research was something you did in graduate school; I thought it was just a job you got after college! I found out after it was too late to get involved in my undergrad. Since I wanted to get paid for it if at all possible, I shot for PhD programs, not just MS ones. :)

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I love school, I'm not burnt out, and I'm really looking forward to graduate studies. And there isn't much within my field that I can do with just an undergrad degree, so I don't really see the point of waiting. Being able to defer my student loans is a nice bonus too let's be honest.

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I had been planning for quite a while to go on to some form of further education during my undergrad degree, although I was thinking med school for a lot of that time. Then, sometime in my senior year, I decided that I absolutely did not want to either work with sick/injured/dying people or cut people open, so med school was kinda out.

During that same time, I took a variety of really fascinating classes (bioinformatics, molecular biology, plant ecology), which gave me an idea of where my interests might lie. The bioinformatics class allowed me to do some really interesting and fun research for my senior research course, and so I decided to look into grad programs where people were doing genomic studies, and applied to the ones whose research I found engaging and exciting.

I decided to at least try applying to the programs to see what would happen, and go from there if I was rejected from everywhere. But, somehow I've managed to get into at least two places (the mind boggles!) So hey, straight from undergrad to grad for me it is.

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For me, it was a variety of different things.  I never really liked working or even being under people. (Blame it on my rebellious high school years and a bad environment growing up)  In my field, if you want to be the boss in R&D, you've a better chance of becoming one by having a PhD.  

 

Throughout my undergraduate, everyone, from professors to my fellow classmates, were pretty much convinced that I would make an awesome professor.  Keep in mind, I don't look remotely close to the part of the "college professor" but I guess it was my open-minded personality that made them believe so.  It also helped that I do like creating new knowledge and never stopped asking questions, no matter how stupid they seemed at the time.

 

In the end, it just felt right to go to graduate school and get my PhD so I can do what I feel I should do.  Of course, I worry that I won't fit in because I come from an atypical background and think differently than most in my field.  But I know that would be more of a help than a hindrance after everything is said and done.  

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I'm back to report my reasons lol. My range on various things from general, petty, and personal reasons.

 

Like many have mentioned, there is not much I can do with my undergrad degree that will involve mw gainng some type of income. I'm also a nerd who even keeps up with topics in my field just for fun lol. I personally wouldn't know how thngs would work out for me if I sat out for some time out then tried getting out into academia again though. My professors were my only sources for me to obtain 3 recommendation letters from as an undergrad with no work experience. I'm not originally from this area, so I'm thankful to have bonded with some people who were able to make such a committment. For me, it was an advntage to get multiple recomendation letters from professors at a time where my skills and abilities remain fresh in ther minds. I'm also ready to be granted opportunties within my job field. I'm going to DC, and it an area that presents so many connections, internships, and work study programs for people within an International Affairs field.

 

My personal reasons include just wanting to get it out the way while I am young and have no type of family. I give props to people who are able to balance grad school, a marriage, and even a kid or two. My mom ws one of them. However, I personally prefer taking things one step at a time though...Lastly, grad school is the perfect excuse for me get far away from an area that I've hated living in for over 10 years.

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I'm going to grad school straight from undergrad! I realized that I wanted to do research as a career during my sophomore year, and I had a very good idea of the topics that interested me. At first I thought a doctorate was too unrealistic for me academically and financially. Once I realized that the PhD wouldn't put me in more debt, I figured, why not go for it.

The decision and goal to pursue the PhD has to be the reason I was so motivated and successful from there on out. You can see the shift in my transcripts! I knew what I wanted to do. I am extremely passionate about my research topic. I figured there was no reason to put it off since I was so sure.

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I took eight years off after high school to join the military and work. I've had enough break and there's not a day that goes by I'm not jealous of the traditional aged students that I'm in my 30s juggling a disabled husband and a preschooler while still pursuing school. It's a catch 22 cause I'm grateful for my life experiences and feel that they make me more motivated and dedicated than those around me--I HAVE to get done asap to provide for my family and take the burden off my husband, and I don't have time at home to work on stuff if I want any kind of balance with my family. So when I go to lab I'm in there 100% balls to the walls. I don't think I would've been the same student had I not gone back older, but I still wish I was finishing my post doc right now. C'est la vie.

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I knew that I wanted to pursue higher education, and I didn't see the point of waiting. I am not burned out, as I feel many people are by this stage. I love doing research, and there are so many topics that I would like to explore more in depth. Once I found out about fully funded PhD programs, this seemed like the best option academically and financially. I've had to work really hard with time management and balance in undergrad, so I know I can expect lots of hard work to come. Also, a BA in my field just doesn't amount to much. I would have to do some major hustling just to score an internship in my field (best case scenario), and even then, I'd still need the schooling eventually. For me, I would rather go straight into a PhD program now rather than later. Finally, I'm at a point in my life where I don't have any other major responsibilities. 

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To be honest, it was the default option for me. The more advanced and unknown the material has gotten throughout my academic career, the more excited I have become. I knew I wanted to pursue at least a PhD, and had no good reason to take time out. Therefore, I simply went ahead. I did do a masters before going into PhD, though.

Edited by Marst
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I love mathematical research, and there's no way I could do anything like it without continuing further. Taking time off to work or something like that would have no benefits for what I want to do, so there was no reason to wait.

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Like some of the other people have indicated, I had several reasons to want to go straight into graduate school from my undergrad.

 

1) The things I'm really interested in aren't taught to undergraduates, at least not at my undergraduate institution.

-Geographically weighted regression modeling for determining crime causation at places

-Advanced GIS analysis for crime prevention

-Statistical techniques for measuring crime and problems in crime measurement past linear regression and analysis of variance

 

2) I know I would benefit from being in a setting where other students are as attentive and intellectually engaged as I am

-At my Undergrad most students were cool with getting C's and just didn't connect with the material like I did

-My senior level classes were pretty much always seminar courses with small class sizes where I would learn a load of information, I'm told I'll have the opportunity to learn more about this stuff as a graduate student in a similar setting.

 

3) Despite my amazing exposure to research as an undergrad, participating in graduate research in my discipline sounds like an incredible experience, especially given that I would be getting paid to learn how to do research more proficiently.

-Chose my schools based on research fit; each of them has faculty whose work in this area I have extensively read about, the faculty are well known for crime mapping and prevention research

 

4) Getting a graduate degree would allow me to more easily work conducting research [something I love] that provides feasible solutions to complex crime problems

-Many of the careers I'm interested in require a graduate degree in general, and a research degree specifically

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I'm passionate about the field that my graduate work will allow me to work in, and it seems like there is no point putting it off. I love school, and i'm lucky that for right now, my parents still live near a major city (NYC) that will allow me to commute to a program and save money if necessary. I didn't really see any career options for me that didn't involve more school, as a Psych BA, so I just jumped in! 

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