Have you considered attending graduate school after Biola? Based on averages from 2012-2018 outcome survey data, 18.2 percent of Biola graduates reported continuing their education after graduation. Like many decisions in life, everyone has a different reason for going to graduate school. We interviewed four members of the Biola community about their journey to graduate school to provide some encouragement and inspiration – Carla Velaz, John Delapena, Joshua Johnson and Katherine Davis.
Veliz is an Academic Advisor, Biola alumna (‘18) and a current M.S. Social Entrepreneurship student at the University of Southern California (‘20).
Delapena is a current Political Science student at Biola (‘20).
Johnson is a Biola alumnus (‘19) and current M.A. Communications Studies student at Purdue University (‘21).
Davis is a Biola alumna (‘19) and a current M.S. Industrial-Organizational Psychology student at Vanguard University (‘21).
Below are their different perspectives on the value of graduate school.
When did you first consider going to graduate school?
Carla: I would say my senior year, but I didn’t really decide on going to graduate school [until] two years after graduating.
John: I started seriously considering grad school around my junior year. This was around the time I started acquiring internships and taking upper-division classes in my major.
Joshua: During my senior fall at Biola I had the incredible opportunity to present a research paper at the National Communication Association in Salt Lake City, Utah. The thrill of meeting and speaking with fellow communication scholars revealed to me an innate passion to one day teach this important subject. At the convention I met representatives from various communication masters programs across the country, including Purdue University. It was here that I first considered going to graduate school.
Katherine: Going into undergrad, I knew I was going to be a Psychology major. With this degree, a master’s is now considered the bare minimum so the plan to attend graduate school was always necessary for me. This was also something they reinforced in our First-Year Seminar class so we would begin thinking about furthering our education after undergrad.
What are the things you considered when going to graduate school?
Joshua: When considering graduate school, I wanted a program that was well regarded in the academic field, rigorous, supportive and financially feasible. Unlike most communication programs, Purdue’s Lamb School of Communication offers a competitive stipend in rural Indiana that enables its students to live without outside work while simultaneously pursuing their masters or doctorate. The faculty are very supportive, collaborating with students in research and providing opportunities for one-on-one mentorship. I have experienced incredible support from colleagues, campus ministry groups, and much, much more.
Carla: I considered location and community. I wanted to see if the graduate community is a place I wanted to fully commit to. This really informed me how much time I wanted to commit, how much financially I wanted to put in and helped me think about the outcomes of the program.
Why do you believe going to graduate school is important?
John: Graduate school allows one to truly begin refining their course of study. Students are able to truly focus in on what subject area or research field they are passionate about. Under the mentorship of proven faculty, I believe that graduate school further prepares students to be successful in their lives and careers.
Joshua: Graduate school is not for everyone, but for me it was essential to my academic career in the hopes of teaching undergraduates as a university professor in communication. Purdue offers me opportunities to teach as a graduate student while simultaneously pursuing my masters. This education not only further informs my understanding of communication, but it provides me with unique teaching skills and opportunities that employers crave. Communication skills are the number one skills employers look for when hiring individuals. My work has made me more competitive in the job market and made me a valuable asset for whoever I end up working for.
How does going to graduate school fit into your future career?
Carla: In the future, I would love to start my own program for my neighborhood and church community. Specifically to start a social enterprise that empowers youth through access to higher education in lower-income neighborhoods. I feel like the graduate degree really helps me understand and equip me on how to make those aspirations possible.
Katherine: It’s necessary! At least for psychology. However, having experience is also a requirement for the career I want to go into and graduate school will help open those doors for me. Graduate school allows me to explore job options within my career. I’m able to do research that will help me get into a doctorate program.
John: Graduate school has been an ever-evolving plan for me. Graduate school is an investment in one’s personal, academic and professional development. I think that graduate school fits well in where I want to land in the future. The goal is to find a program that takes both undergraduate education and my passions to a deeper level of understanding for my future career.
These are just a small variety of different perspectives on pursuing graduate school. Whether you plan to pursue another degree or are deciding what life after Biola looks like, consider visiting the Career Center where dedicated staff members can help you plan for your future.