Graduate School for Organic Chemistry??
A presumptuous congratulations on passing this class. For some of you it was not easy. For others, it might have been enjoyable. And for a select few of you, it was so awesome that you would love to take the class again just for fun. Right now, I am talking to that last group of students.
If you enjoyed your organic chemistry class, you might want to consider a way to continue the party. That way is to get a graduate degree in chemistry. Here are some of the benefits to it:
1) Recruiting trips: Rent the 80’s hit movie “Johnny Be Good”. Your recruiting trips to prospective graduate schools will not be quite that crazy, but each school you are accepted to will fly you out for the weekend to wine and dine you. This includes meeting the faculty & current graduate students, seeing the campus, hearing about research that you might be interested in and seeing what life as a grad student would be like. It is a great way to spend part of your senior year and is the first step to picking the perfect graduate school for you. It is also an amazing opportunity to talk to the graduate students that are already there and find out how life at that school really is.
2) You get paid to go to school: Almost every university that offers a graduate degree in chemistry will pay you go to school there. No joke. In exchange for teaching undergraduate classes and/or doing research in order to obtain your degree, these schools will pay you a stipend. Generally, it is not much money, but it will be enough for most of you to live on. Depending on the school, this stipend can range from $15K to $35K/year and tuition is usually covered in that (or is very cheap). Considering that you are being paid to be a
student, this isn’t such a bad deal.
3) You get to put off starting real life: If you get a masters degree, it will take you 18 months to three years to complete. If you get a PhD, it will take you between 4-6 years. This is all time in which you are still a college student and can continue to party like it is 1999.
4) You will increase your earning potential for your entire career: With an advanced degree on your resume, you can demand higher salaries for your entire working career.
5) You don’t necessarily even need to become a chemist with your degree: A sizable percentage of those who get advanced degrees in chemistry never actually become bench chemists, or even stay in the field of chemistry. I know people that have become engineers, pharmaceutical sales reps, medical examiners, and even FBI agents. The great part about it is that you have flexibility and aren’t pigeon-held into a chemistry job.
Overall, more education never hurts anyone, especially when someone else is paying for you to do it. If you are even remotely interested in hearing more about this, I would strongly suggest learning more about a graduate degree in the sciences. For most schools, you can visit their websites and get more information. If you decide to start the process toward going to graduate school, you want to
take the GRE exam sometime in your junior year and start applying in the fall of your senior year