Jan 25, 2011
Students should consider several questions when deciding to continue their education and attend graduate school. Which school is best for me? How do I apply? What entrance exams are required? And how do I choose an advisor who can help me through this process? The path you take to pursue a career in the health sciences will depend on your interest, talent and hard work.
Deciding which graduate program is the best fit, may be easy for some, but challenging for others. It is a big step toward achieving your career goals, but you don’t have to do it alone. Many resources are available. Mentors, career counselors, educators and even grants are available to help graduate students.
When deciding on a graduate degree program, students should ask themselves what their passions are. Have you thought about areas of study in which you excel and what excites, motivates and energizes you. Knowing the answers to these questions is crucial to finding the right career. But that’s not all. Students should also consider how their degree can benefit them in the future and what they see themselves doing passionately on a daily basis. Students should also research the job market to assess whether their desired professions are in demand.
Undergraduate students looking to proceed to the next phase of their education should pursue internships during their tenure so they can gain experience. Many graduate schools look for undergraduates who go that extra mile with their extracurricular activities. Internships at a company, university or laboratory not only give the student an edge into gaining entry into graduate school, but it also offers a glimpse into their future as health professionals.
Once you have been accepted into a graduate program, you should find a mentor who can provide advice, guidance and support. Many mentors will take an active role in shaping their protégés into exemplary health professionals. It is also important for students to utilize their career center and go to networking events held by their school or department to make additional contacts and seek out people of influence.
The path to success as a health professional lies, in large part, in your hands and is determined by the work you do, and the associations you make, in graduate school. You should not only focus on getting your deliverables done as a student, but you should also be forward thinking and actively charting your career themselves as a health professional. Doing so, will give you an advantage in fulfilling your dreams.