Saturday, January 18, 2014

Before You Apply to Grad School

Read This
If you’re thinking about going to graduate school, read this before you apply. It’s an open spreadsheet where graduates have posted about their debt levels, why they acquired so much debt, and how they’re planning to pay it off.

Note that a lot of these people had funding. Before they go to grad school, people are warned that you shouldn't go unless you’re fully funded (tuition paid, some sort of research or teaching stipend). And that’s absolutely correct. If a Ph.D. program admits you without funding, it's telling you that it doesn't care whether you come; the program is willing to take your money, but not willing to invest in you. That means you won’t have access to the opportunities and support required to have a viable career in academia.
My own extensive experience with grad school makes me agree with this wholeheartedly; if they ain't paying you to go, they don't have an investment in you.

I had support through most of a long stretch of grad school, research assistant-ships until the final year when I had to student-teach a undergraduate general oceanography class; the professor had notes that dated to the 50's (and this was in the 80s).  I learned I could teach, but I really didn't want to.

Also, I was married to Georgia, and she was working full time for most of the period, as a lab tech in the Biochemistry Dept.  Between the my stipend, and her salary, a cheap mortgage, and hunting deer for meat, we had a comfortable, and pleasant, if not spectacularly wealthy stay.

1 comment:

  1. And boy did we shoot a lot of deer. I wanted to take that elk, but you told me I'd walk home if I did :)