Graduate School: To Go Or Not To Go?

Graduate School: To Go Or Not To Go?

It feels like I get asked this question almost every other month… either from undergrads here at Syracuse University, people I talked to in passing at my own undergrad Jackson State University, or even people on Instagram who get a glimpse of what I do on a daily basis. I love being asked this question because people are actually looking for validation and even just some insight about the “right” way to do things. But to me, having grown up as a millennial, there is no right or wrong way to go about answering this question. My generation is big on doing what we believe is right for us, and that anyone can get by or get “big” by deciding to go to college or not.

Personally, I decided to go to undergrad because I basically had no choice, but graduate school was different. My mother always told me to get my second degree because as everyone says, “you can make more money” or “it looks good on your resume”. But I also decided to go because I wanted more hands-on experience in my career. So if that’s something you’re looking into building, I can attest to that with regard to my own experiences at Syracuse University and Newhouse specifically.

I knew I wanted to go to graduate school by my junior year of undergrad, in part because I knew I wasn’t ready for the workforce. Additionally, I wanted to get more experience around how it can be to work inside a real newsroom or a simulated one. I had learned the basics of what I needed to know for a journalism career (or to be a multimedia editor/producer if we’re being honest) but I wanted to be a reporter and knew I needed more skills and practice before I could coin that term for myself. So I researched which schools had the best broadcast journalism programs, specifically in D.C. and New York, because I knew I wanted to be in the Northern part of the country (but if you’re considering elsewhere, that’s fine too!) and saw that the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications kept popping up. I looked up their alumni network and realized they were everywhere, all with great jobs — even recent grads. I then went to an Open House and got very eager to visit and speak with recent alumni and current students about their experience and what they’re doing to better their career.

If I can say one thing that’s the same as undergrad it would be that it’s crucial to visit, visit, visit. Talk to people like crazy. Talk to people outside of the “initial interview” and get a real feel for everything. Don’t be afraid to reach out to current students, either; they’re most likely very willing to tell you about what’s going on if you’re considering going through what they’re going through, because maybe they felt the same way about needing guidance when they were in your shoes. Send emails, make calls, and essentially “get on people’s nerves” if you have to. At the end of the day, you’re spending a crazy amount of money to get yet another degree and you deserve to know all the information you can get your hands on.

The contacts I had at Newhouse were very open and honest with me, and I couldn’t have asked for more. They truly helped shape the way I viewed the school and making my decision became a lot easier.

Once I got in, Newhouse was very helpful in sending me a recent graduate who had just gotten her first job as I was getting ready to attend the Summer Bootcamp, so she was able to really give me great insight on what I was about to embark on. She had just finished her year in the same place I was heading.

All in all, if I had to do it all over again, I would without any doubt. Newhouse and Syracuse University made this process super easy and if you’re considering doing the same, go for it!

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Alexis Scott
Alexis Scott is a graduate student at S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and studying Broadcast Digital Journalism. She hopes that when done at Syracuse University, she will be a reporter and multimedia journalist for a media/TV company. You can follow her on Twitter @ livewlex to have updates and follow her journey through graduate school.

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