Graduate Education and Proposed Reforms: The Cold, Hard Facts

For the past few generations, college graduates have been attending graduate programs in order to guarantee themselves a better and successful future and to increase their chances of landing their desired careers. These people have spent thousands of dollars in financial aid in order to obtain their masters and doctoral degrees, and have also invested their time and effort into their dissertations. However, in recent years, graduate students have been disenfranchised by the fact that their high expectations for graduate school haven’t been properly met. In today’s economic climate, graduate students can’t be guaranteed a career of their choice and the benefits that come along with it, whether it is tenure or considerable salaries. Sadly, some graduate students have no other choice but to change their career plans and take up alternative career choices.

In order to help students reach their career goals in life, people and organizations both inside and outside of academia must assist them in any way possible. For starters, graduate school faculty members should contact employers on the behalf of students who are interested in particular fields, such as research and business. In other words, these faculty members should attempt at helping their students network and apply for/gain research assistantships, fellowships, and internships. This practice is a lot more common in undergraduate programs, which include departments specifically developed to help undergrads find employment/internships during semesters and during the summer.

Another way that today’s graduate education can be reformed is by changing the curriculum of graduate schools for the sake of better preparing graduate students for the working world. According to Grafton and Grossman’s essay No More Plan B, a PhD program in history entails a narrow perspective in which doctoral students aren’t fully aware of how vast and broad their career choices in history can be. Both authors also mention that people who hold PhD’s in history can venture beyond the academy and take on such careers as investment bankers and political analysts at think tanks. Basically, graduate school programs must acknowledge recent trends of the times and be more open to making much-needed alterations in how they prepare their students for the working world.

In conclusion, graduate school programs across this country need to better accommodate the graduate students of the 21st century due to the fact that many career choices have either emerged or underwent major changes in recent years. Hopefully, these programs will realize the new needs of the typical 21st century grad student and will help lead them to a successful career path that will benefit them for years to come.

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