Thursday, July 22, 2010

Guide for students considering grad school

High fives, fist bumps, etc. to Rich Lawler, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at James Madison University, who is generously sharing with BANDIT a fantastic guide he wrote up in response to the number of questions he's received over the years from students interested in going to graduate school. Here's a snippet:

"Here is the only good reason to go to grad school:
--I am intellectually curious about a particular academic topic; I enjoy reading, thinking, writing, and researching about this topic and my motivation for studying this topic comes entirely from within. I understand that in order to gain further expertise in my chosen topic I need to pursue a post-graduate degree. I hope to use this degree in order to land a job in an academic (e.g., University or museum) or applied (e.g., conservation organization or non-profit agency) environment that takes advantage of my educational expertise.

Here are some terrifically bad reasons to go to grad school:
--I don’t know what else to do with my life so I’ll just go to grad school
--I think it’d be really cool to have a Ph.D. in something
--My parents have high expectations for me and I don’t want to let them down.
--I think that I kinda like Anthropology I guess, so I’ll just apply to grad school
--I got mostly A’s in college and I got a great GRE score so therefore I’m smart. Since grad school is just like undergrad, I’m certain I’ll succeed in grad school." (hee hee, right?)

Thanks, Rich! I'm sure this will be very useful for those of us mentoring undergraduates who are considering this kind of commitment.


  1. unfortunately we have too many people in grad school who got in for those exact 'bad reasons'. perhaps it is time for grad school to tighten up the selection criteria

  2. It's always nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained! I'm sure you had fun writing this article.

    Term Papers Writing Service