Steps to Attending Grad School

Keshia writes:
I was hoping that you could help steer me in the right direction. I am strongly considering going back to school to obtain my graduate degree. I would love to become a college professor and teach something like literature classes or women’s studies.
I have my undergraduate degree in journalism and I don’t really know where to start.
What classes or tests will I need to pursue this option?

The Career Doctor responds:
There are a lot of factors to consider when contemplating whether to seek one or more graduate degrees. I suggest you read my article Considering
Graduate School? Answer These Five Questions Before You Decide
After reading the article I recommend that your next step should be to talk to one or more of your former journalism professors and see if you can get the names of a few professors in the English or Women’s Studies departments of your alma mater (or elsewhere for that matter). Then sit down with these newly found professors and pick their brains about all the pros and cons of taking this big step along with the rewards and challenges of teaching at the college level.
If you decide to go to graduate school you’re best bet is to find a hybrid master’s-doctoral program thus cutting some of the time needed to earn your Ph.D. (which is the degree you need to teach full-time at the college level at a decent salary).
While you’re finding the ideal programs for you you’ll also want to start preparing for the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) which most graduate programs require — along with ordering transcripts from your undergraduate college writing personal essays for each program you apply to and requesting several letters of recommendation to support your application. Make sure you apply to several schools.
Finally let me say that the reason I went back to get my Ph.D. was because I felt — and still do today — that teaching was my life’s true calling and if I wanted to teach at the college level I knew I would have to earn the degree. The program was challenging aggravating demeaning (at times) and life-changing — and a difficult thing to balance
while working part-time and trying to raise two very young children; however knowing where I am today and what I have already accomplished I would do it again in a heartbeat. Teaching is wonderful.
Best of luck to you in finding the answers — and taking the plunge if that’s what you decide to do!
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