Economy slump inspires higher education pursuit

According to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, companies have indicated they plan to hire 22 percent fewer graduates this spring.

With today’s economy in a slump and graduation approaching fast, many undergraduate seniors are deciding to continue their education at UMHB and pursue a master’s degree in their field of choice. The university currently offers 14 master’s programs and the doctorate of education degree.

Clinical and mental health psychology graduate student Sarah Potter is staying positive in negative entry-level career times.

“I think grad school is a great idea for any student who is graduating right now, especially because of the low job market,” she said. “It seems like a really intimidating and scary transition, but once you’re actually in your program, it all comes together and you feel so good about it.”

Potter graduated earlier than expected and was not ready to leave the area.

“I grew up in Houston, and I just feel that if I decided to go anywhere else for school, it would be overwhelming,” she said. “I just love this school and everything about it. It was definitely a personal decision to pursue my master’s at UMHB.”

Potter researched several psychology programs.

“I went to the graduate school fair here at UMHB, and I spoke to one of the recruiters for the department, and they told me the LPC program had a 100 percent licensure exam passing rate. That pretty much sold me,” she said.

Exercise and sport science graduate student J.T. Fletcher said he decided to pursue further education at the university because he likes the student-to-teacher ratio.

“I enjoy the small classes as well. It’s easier to communicate with your teachers and fellow classmates and build that friendship,” Fletcher said. “I enjoy the Christian atmosphere of UMHB and how the professors relate coursework back to Christ.”

Fletcher said he also has a job with financial aid and that the department accommodates his schedule to provide personal time for grad school.

“They really help me out,” he said. “I think it’s good for me to get it here because I will finish it faster than somewhere else. I can complete grad school in a year and a half or two years. If I went somewhere else, I would have to find a full-time job and take classes. It would be really hard to do in that amount of time.”

Exercise and sport science graduate student Jared Freels thinks no other university could give the quality of education he is receiving at the university.

“The reason I decided to get my master’s here is because I love the atmosphere,” he said. “I have excellent professors, and I feel like I have more connections here to help me establish a successful job.”

Freels enjoys the classes.

“I also like having only eight to 10 people in my room. With smaller classes the professors can cater to students more,” he said.

Potter thinks her graduate classes are more intense than her undergrad ones, but she still thinks she made the right choice to continue her education.

“It’s a lot of homework. I’m averaging three to four papers a week that I have to write. It’s a lot of studying,” she said.

“The advising is different, though, from bachelor’s. My adviser gave me an exact layout of what I will be taking every semester until I am finished.
It’s cool because you don’t have to take all the extra classes in a bachelor’s degree; you just get to take the classes that interest you.”

Students who are thinking of enrolling in a graduate program can visit the graduate school page on the university Web site for more information on their school of personal interest.

“It’s a great way to intensely study one’s specific field of interest,” Freels said. “I’m really glad I made the decision to continue at UMHB. I love it… and to me, it’s fun.”

Author: Mary Beth Kelton

I am a senior at UMHB and loving it! I am the features editor for The Bells and I also intern at the Temple Chamber of Commerce. I transferred to UMHB fall 2008 and God has done so many amazing things with my life. I am excited to graduate in May but more excited about the next two semesters and the memories that I will gain. I plan to continue my education by obtaining a masters degree in sociology after graduation unless I am somehow blessed with a job.

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