A significant number of undergraduate students plan on attending graduate school to get either a master or a PhD, but you must be sure why you want to attend graduate school. In my first semester, I wanted to go to graduate school to get a PhD, ignorant of how this degree would benefit me, to end up teaching at college level and researching. At that time graduate school was very distant and I have realized that a PhD is only useful in the academic environment. Your PhD training will not likely be useful in the job market due to the incredible gap between society and academia.
It was in one of my writing courses –“Writing For Your Profession”- that I got to know more about graduate school. Writing courses are full of readings and one of the readings –“Intellectual Entrepreneurship”- is about the Intellectual Entrepreneurship, a PhD program of UT at Austin which differs from other graduate programs because is focus on saving the gap between society and academia. Graduate students are forced to think outside the box and apply their skills in real live situations. The principles of this program are:
- Vision and discovery: clearly, needed for anyone who wants to do research or wants to become an entrepreneur
- Ownership and accountability: you are responsible for your own discoveries and education
- Integrative Thinking and Action: what makes the program special, put what you have learned into a good use, and not just leave it as something theoretical
- Collaboration and Teamwork: this one is self-explanatory
Although my mind has significantly changed since my first semester –from wanting a PhD to not wanting to go to graduate school to wanting to do a master-, I am reconsidering getting a PhD in abstract algebra, which ultimately would help me to achieve my professional goal of becoming a cryptographer. With a degree similar to the one of UT at Austin I would not have to excessively worry to find a job, like many other PhD student. Furthermore, I would have the benefits of a higher salary than average that later is going to help me finance –or repay the debt- the PhD, which is not cheap.
This article also gave a clear idea of which universities I want to apply for graduate school. For instance, think about Harvard. Harvard is the best university of the world, with an admission rate of one percent. This fact drives a significant number of students mad, but they do not think that they can get a good, or even better, education at any other institutions. Ivy League universities’ exclusivity is based on their renown, but renown is not equal to a good education.
Even though I still have time to decide whether or not I attend graduate school, I will keep it in my mind as a possibility. Nevertheless, unlike before, I have a better picture of what graduate school is. As a person who likes to learn from its experiences, if have learned something from “Intellectual Entrepreneurship” is that I just do not to have a good education but I also want to put it into a good use. An Ivy League PhD can have all the renown of the world but it is going to be useless –and a waste of money- if you are unable to apply it in your job.