Four years wasn’t enough for these SNC graduates
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College is four years of caffeine-induced late-night study sessions in the library,desperately asking for sympathy from professors, and constantly stressing over deadlines. For some students a diploma is the trophy of making it through war. For others it’s just a checkpoint.
Nicole Ross, a junior at Sierra Nevada College, is already planning the next step in her education.
“Ever since I entered school as a freshman, I’ve never considered not going to grad school,” Ross said. “I might get annoyed in one of my classes, but it doesn’t mean that academia is moot.”
Ross wants to pursue a career teaching English to high school students, and feels the best way is to move on to the graduate program at Howard University in Washington D.C. “I think there is more to be gained by going to another school, and a different place, rather than staying at SNC [just] because it’s easier,” Ross said.
Meghan Herbst, an SNC student enrolled in the journalism program, was recently accepted into the University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.
“Berkeley has always been a dream school,” she said, “It is one of the only schools in the country that has a program focused on investigative journalism.”
Herbst debated whether to continue her graduate studies at a smaller school, or even a mid-sized program like the one offered at the University of Nevada, Reno, but she is intent on focusing her studies on traditional investigative journalism. Many schools offer a marketing focus, a field in which Herbst has no interest.
“With Berkeley you get hands-on education and mentorship with the best people in the business, like The New York Times, Mothership Magazine and L.A. Times.” Herbst said.
Herbst believes an important part ofcontinuing her education is the connections she’ll make. “A lot of the journalistic field is, sadly, who you know,” Herbst said. “It helps with getting an interview with a magazine you want to work for…or any publication.”
For Kaitlyn MacAuley, a student in SNC’s graduate fine arts master’s program,graduate school offers the opportunity to refine her skills.
“I felt like that I could use the in-depth work that you get through this MFA program on my own work that I didn’t quite get in my undergrad,” she said. The program at SNC is tight-knit, so students find themselves getting to know all the professors, not just the ones they are working with. “They really actually care about you. Not that you don’t get that in the undergrad, but they’ll see you somewhere and go out of their way to talk to you and see how you’re doing. That’s something, at least in a lot of other programs, that’s usually not found.”
Through a Senior Exit Survey taken last year, 57.47 percent of SNC graduates applied or intended to apply to graduate school. According to Annamarie Jones, the Director of Assessment and Institutional Research at SNC, this is a fairly steady statistic.
“Graduates feel that they need to attain a higher degree in order to increase theirearning potential or get a higher paying job,” said Jones. “Students who graduated several years ago are now going back to graduate school in order to become more specialized in a given job field or in order to move up in an organization.”
MacAuley plans to take her education from SNC and become a screenwriter in LA, while working in fiction on the side.
Ross, Herbst and MacAculey agree that pursuing a master’s is a personal choice, but they have found important reasons to pursue higher education. “You meet more people, both students and teachers,” MacAuley said. “You’ll find doors that open through them.”