Wednesday’s Parent: 6 reasons to think grad school in college search

Adding grad school to college list. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Adding grad school to college list. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

There are many factors students consider when composing a college list or choosing a college to attend but graduate school is often not one of them. That omission can be costly for students who decide to continue their higher education beyond a bachelor’s degree (B.A.). Here are six reasons why your college-bound student should think grad school before saying yes to a college:

  1. Careers Certain careers require advanced degrees beyond a B.A. If a student is considering such a field, checking graduate school applicant qualifications makes sense. Students can discover right away if a college has the courses, majors and internships necessary to best prepare for the next admission process.
  2. Grad school acceptance Graduating from college is not an automatic admission into graduate school. It can be even more competitive than undergraduate programs. Students can check a college’s stats for number of students attending graduate/professional schools to gauge how successful past grads have been to gain admittance into graduate schools and programs.
  3. Undergrad/Grad school programs Many undergrad schools offer postbaccalaureate programs. Students can take a look at graduate curricula while researching undergrad academic programs. They can also find out the acceptance rate of undergrad students gaining admission to their own school’s grad programs.
  4. Combined undergrad/grad programs Some schools offer combined degree programs that put students on the fast track to obtain their advanced degree. This is a great deal for students sure of their career goals because they achieve their college and career dreams in less time thereby shaving college expenses.
  5. Costs Graduate degrees can be much more expensive than the dollars shelled out to earn an undergrad diploma. When considering college costs, students can tally what they expect by combining the number of years necessary to earn the desired undergrad and grad degrees. Students can decide to make it all affordable and to lower costs by setting priorities when apportioning dollars between college and graduate school choices. Read Planning a Budget for Grad School for tips on preparing financially for grad school.
  6. Financial aid Students shouldn’t expect need-based and merit-based aid to be the same offered to those studying for a B.A. Federal financial aid programs for graduate students consist of student loans with hardly any exceptions unless limited to certain occupations or work/study programs. Some states and schools may offer a few fellowships and the latter may have research or teaching assistant positions for grad students. Some professional, scholarly and other organizations may sponsor scholarship contests but the majority of such programs are solely for undergrads. A few universities discount their grad tuition for their own undergrads under certain circumstances. it can pay in the future to investigate these options now.

Graduate school is very different from college. It’s no longer about gaining knowledge via a major, minor and general graduation requirements but concentrating on a selected field of study. The college-bound can prepare for both at the start of the college process.

Read Suzanne’s postIs Grad School in Your Teen’s Future?


Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Suzanne Shaffer and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

The bonus is on the fourth Wednesday of each month when Suzanne and I will host Twitter chat #CampusChat at 9pm ET/6pm PT. We will feature an expert on a topic of interest for parents of the college-bound. 

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from to and vice versa.

Plan for after college before college


Planning for after college can be a huge help for the college-bound. AfterCollege’s mission is to help students discover their first job or internship. It reaches more than 5,000,000 users each year, including 18,000 faculty, student group and administrative contacts at over 2,000 colleges and universities, according to its website. When checking out the site, don’t forget to look at the AfterCollege Scholarships page.

This guest post from AfterCollege via Roberto Angulo, CEO of AfterCollege, shows how knowing the trends can help students focused on STEM (science, math, technology engineering) fields explore internship/employment opportunities that match their interests. It also includes a Top 10 Employers list in 2014 for students of various majors. Take it away Roberto:


When it comes to finding an internship or job after graduation, which companies are college students and recent grads most interested in? The AfterCollege Employer Popularity Index (EPI) is a ranking of the top employers as rated by students in the fields of technology, engineering, business, nursing, allied health, and life sciences.

These rankings are based on more than 685,000 feedback points from college students and recent grads in the United States. The EPI is unique in that it doesn’t just ask students where they want to work—it ranks the companies students are actively following and seeking jobs and internships from.

“The key to a successful university recruiting program is an employer’s ability to build their brand on campus. The Employer Popularity Index is an unbiased resource for employers to measure their presence on a particular campus and even among specific departments and majors. It’s no surprise Google has been rising in the ranks over the last several years as they’ve developed one of the most comprehensive on-campus recruiting strategies in the industry,” says Roberto Angulo, CEO of AfterCollege.

We’ve noticed a few significant trends in 2014. Some industries, like tech, have held steady for the past three years with Google, Microsoft, and Intel remaining the employers of choice. There’s been some change among engineering students, who now also rate Google as a top ten employer. Engineering students’ interest in NASA and IBM has waned, with both of these employers losing their spots in the top ten this year. Google is now the top choice employer for Business students, while in 2014 Wells Fargo lost its spot in the top five to Deloitte. The top five preferred employers for Allied Health students—Kaiser Permanente, CVS, Target, Children’s National Health, and the Mayo Clinic—have held steady for the past three years.

Top 10 Employers for Tech Students in 2014

  1. Google
  2. Intel Corporation
  3. Microsoft Corporation
  4. IBM
  5. Apple
  6. Amazon
  7. National Security Agency
  8. Facebook
  9. Hewlett-Packard
  10. Cisco

Top 10 Employers for Engineering Students in 2014

  1. The Boeing Company
  2. Intel Corporation
  3. Lockheed Martin
  4. General Electric
  5. Raytheon
  6. Google
  7. The Aerospace Corporation
  8. Apple
  9. National Security Agency
  10. Northrop Grumman Corporation

Top 10 Employers for Business Students in 2014

  1. Google
  2. Intel Corporation
  3. Target
  4. JP Morgan Chase
  5. Deloitte
  6. Wells Fargo
  7. Bank of America
  8. National Security Agency
  9. Apple
  10. Kaiser Permanente

Top 10 Employers for Allied Health Students in 2014

  1. Kaiser Permanente
  2. CVS
  3. Target
  4. Children’s National Health
  5. Mayo Clinic
  6. Stanford Health Care
  7. Walgreens Pharmacy
  8. Department of Veterans Affairs
  9. Cedars Sinai Medical Center
  10. St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center

How science can help the college-bound find success and happiness

What makes students happy and successful is the question behind this cool Infographic from Happify. It is also the query stressing parents of the college-bound and students during the graduation season.

Based on the premise that happiness is a skill to be strengthened, Happify’s mission is to “make the benefits of scientific discovery readily available and usable by you in an interactive way.” To do this, they apply their expertise in gaming and technology to findings from “the field of positive psychology—the scientific study of what makes people thrive and lead meaningful lives.”

Parents and their college-bound children may use the tips from Happify, the online personal happiness trainer, as it explains the scientific research on education, striving for success and happiness.

Check out Happify Infographic’s suggestions about becoming “grittier” and the pointers about what benefits and matters to students. Perhaps the most interesting tidbit is the last one that explains the good lifelong news for college grads who earn their degrees during an economic recession.

Infographic: What makes students happy and successful? – Happify

Happify - Infographic - Graduation and Education

Best way to get a ‘good job’ with a college degree

Finding college and career fulfillment Photo by TheDeliciousLife

Finding college and career fulfillment Photo by TheDeliciousLife

Something is very wrong in the American workplace when almost 80% of employees are ambivalent or strongly unhappy with their job. Worse, those with higher education are more dissatisfied. However, there is a clear way to improve the odds of job fulfillment and finding “a good job.”.

Today, Gallup released a study that shows, “American workers with a college or postgraduate degree are slightly less likely than those with a high school diploma or less to be engaged at work.”

I recently posted 5 surprising results from choosing STEM vs. Humanities major. I included tips for choosing a major based on an in depth personal evaluation of interests, skills and talents.

Yesterday, Career Happiness? First, Discover Your “My Three Things was posted by a person who had several career changes and many different jobs. On TheSavvyIntern blog, Ted Coine gives an introspection plan to jump start college and career.

How “good” a job is depends on the degree of connection between worker and work. How to best find a strong employment engagement starts with choosing a college and a field of study that best matches personal passion and aptitude.

While employers figure out how to make their employees more content, students and job-seekers can increase their own chances for “a good job.”

Read more




Watch TV for the answer to ‘Tell me about yourself’

Tv, Watch, Television, Clip, Old – Free image – 42376pixabay.comThe are a lot of hard questions for the college-bound and job-seekers to answer but one of the toughest is, “Tell me about yourself.” This is a common question asked by college admission officers and employers. To answer it, turn on the nearest TV.

The lessons are contained in sitcoms, reality shows and commercials. Viewers immediately can tell who a character is and what he wants.

Read on for “Tell me about yourself” tips and examples.




What the collegebound can learn from Class of 2013

The graduate. Photo by David Goehring CarbonNYC

‘Tis the season for college graduation and the 2013 class is joining the workforce. What the job market looks like is the subject of the infographic pictured below.

The college-bound and job hunters should pay particular attention to the middle of the infographic for two reasons.

  1. Location College grads often continue to live and work near their college alma mater. The college-bound may want to consider these locations when choosing a college to attend.
  2. Qualifications The 5 top personal qualities that employers seek are listed. These qualities will help applicants achieve goals before, during and after college., the largest online marketplace for self-storage, presents some figures that shed some light on what the future holds for the Class of 2013. Taken from a number of different sources, this infographic should give recent graduates a good preview of what they can expect out there in the real world.

College Class of 2013 Storage Infographic
Produced by SpareFoot. Copyright 2013.

*POCSmom’s DIY College Prep Insight: College Bottom Line is Finish Line

Cliché: Crossing the finish line.    
POCS Reality: In order to earn the maximum benefits of going to college, students must earn a college degree and graduate.


To the victors belong the spoils and studies show this applies to educational achievement. That means if attending college is a race, graduating is crossing the finish line.

College degree benefits include better jobs, money, and knowledge. Dropping out drawbacks include loss of educational investment and student loan debt.

POCSmom’s DIY College Prep Insight: Finish what you educationally start. If your initial choice isn’t working out:

  • Think why- adapting to college life issues, too much partying and not enough studying, work load too difficult, can’t afford the expense?
  • Seek help- depending on the reason, different professional sources are available on and off campus to help you succeed including counseling, tutoring, and financial aid staff.
  • Transfer- because sometimes to succeed, you have to take another path. Another school may be a better fit now based on your program, activities, location choices and budget concerns.

The earlier you recognize you have an educational problem, the faster you can correct it. No one asks where you started, just where you earned that college degree. Get the maximum college payback: finish college and graduate.

*POCS: Parent Of a College Student

*POCSmom’s DIY Insight: College Lists and Student Loans

Cliché: Default on.    
POCS Reality: Colleges and the government keep track of student loan defaults.      


Horrible. Disturbing. Frightening. I’m talking about the growing student loan default rate. When forming a college list think ahead so these words don’t apply to your situation.

The Department of Education’s latest figures show a 2003 low default rate of 4.5% rose to a 2009 8.8%: 

Although the late 80’s and 90’s had double digit default rates, they fell steadily until 2003. Now they’re at a 12 year high:

and bankruptcy is growing among college grads:

POCSmom’s DIY Insight: Choose colleges that are affordable for your family now and after graduation. Add up available savings but don’t raid retirement funds. Project potential income and length of time to secure employment. College is supposed to help not hinder a student’s financial future.

If you need to borrow, choose a federal education loan not a private loan or home equity loan. Federal student and parent loans are regulated by the federal government, have special terms and interest rates, unique loan forgiveness programs, and do not require collateral.

Before borrowing, calculate monthly repayment amounts including the amount borrowed (principal) and borrowing costs (fees and interest). Make sure you can afford any loans.

Note: student loans are treated differently from other consumer loans under bankruptcy laws and it is much harder to obtain a discharge.

*POCS: Parent Of a College Student

*POCSmom’s Insight: The High Cost of Not Graduating from College

Cliché: Stay in school.  
POCS Reality: Students and states lose when students do not graduate from college.


When students drop out of college, they are not the only ones losing money. Former students may lose higher salaries potential and states may lose tax revenue. For example, “Virginia potentially lost more than $7.3 million in state income-tax revenue in one year on the diminished salaries of just one class of college dropouts” according to:

To check the numbers for your state:

POCSmom’s Insight: Students with education loans may find themselves in debt with no diploma to show for it. College may not be for everyone, but everyone who can benefit should be able to pursue their higher education dreams to a successful conclusion for the betterment of self, family, community, and our great nation. How do you put a price on the loss of a potential discovery, cure, or idea?

*POCS: Parent Of a College Student

*POCSmom’s Insight: Community Service and College

Cliché: At your service.  
POCS Reality: There are many opportunities to perform community service before, in, and after college.


FACT: You are under college stress.

FACT: There are people in worse shape than you.

FACT: You can help others and lose your stress.

BONUS: The extra benefits of community service can ricochet back to the student giver. 

Before college

When listed as an extracurricular activity on a college application, or described in a college essay, community service can show a prospective student’s worthwhile use of valuable and limited free time. It can also highlight traits college value such as abilities, dedication, and leadership.

In college

Colleges offer many opportunities for students to continue to help others through internships, class work, and independently on their own. Here’s an example:

After college

Community service projects can maximize the value of a student’s diploma and add to his resume while supplying networking contacts to get that job.

*POCS: Parent Of a College Student