Grad School, Special Projects

Is the master’s the new bachelor’s?

From a young age, my mom and I for fun would create vision boards of what we wanted our future to look like. My usual vision boards had everything from how I wanted my wedding to be to the career and school I wanted to attend.

When I got accepted to Long Beach State as a transfer student, I couldn’t believe that the vision board I created three years ago paid off.

Now attending Long Beach State, there are moments that I’m in class when I think about if my bachelor’s degree is enough to get a high-waging job.

The planner side of me kicked in and started to investigate everything I could about graduate school and obtaining a master’s degree.

I found that a lot more people are getting master’s degrees now than they were two decades ago. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that U.S. universities are on track to give out 800,000 master’s degrees this year, double the amount that was awarded in 2000.

Michael T. Nietzel, a senior contributor to Forbes, wrote that a master’s degree is the new entry credential for various occupations and professions. Gone are the days that just having a bachelor’s degree would get you a job as a social worker or a teacher.

It seems like society is forcing my generation to work harder to get the same job that previous generations got with just their bachelor’s degree.

It’s disheartening, but I’m not surprised.

Still, I continue with the motions of going to school and working, and pretend that everything will be better. It’s the reason why I find solace in making vision boards because I can control how I want my future to be.

The truth is that I feel anxious, nervous and at times depressed because I feel that I live in a society where I can control anything.

However, I’m forcing myself to see the brighter side of this situation. Overall getting a master’s degree brings higher earnings for workers over their lifetime.

The NCES reports that by 2027 there will be an even bigger projected increase in people getting master’s degrees. Women will surpass their male counterparts by more than 200,000 awarded master’s degrees.

These statistics give me hope that the future can be better. It does alleviate the pressure I feel when thinking about what’s next after I get my bachelor’s degree.

Is the master’s the new bachelor’s?

Yes and no.

I think there are many things you can still accomplish with a bachelor’s degree. Still, the number of folks going to graduate school is increasing, and if you want to be ahead of the curve, you might need to go to graduate school.

With the pandemic, universities like the University of Southern California offer virtual workshops through Zoom for prospective students who want to learn more about what grad school can offer.

Recently, I attended a workshop for USC Anneberg’s Global Communication master’s program to find out more about the courses and life as a graduate student. I was conflicted about going and wasn’t going to attend because I still have one year at the Beach.
Curiosity got the better of me, and I attended. Surprisingly enough, I enjoyed myself. At the end of the workshop I found myself leaning toward the decision to attend grad school.

I know it’s highly competitive to get into most graduate programs. The cost of attending worries me to no avail. The cons outweigh the pros when I think about getting a master’s degree, but I still want to try.

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