Why go to college?
Planning to return to college took time as I examined whether earning a graduate degree was a worthwhile addition to my professional background. In the end, I decided it was and I’m currently enrolled in the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy — a decision that took me two years to make.
Public policy graduate students are passionate about people and use data and analysis to change the world for the better. Those core values resonated with me three years ago as I was beginning to think about going back to college.
The application process isn’t all that different from applying to undergraduate programs. I gathered letters of recommendation, took a standardized test (the Graduate Record Examination) and prepared personal statements.
I previously worked as a newspaper reporter, and pursuing a master’s degree in my profession was unnecessary. But at the end of the workday, I felt curious about the topics I researched while crafting articles. I craved more knowledge and began to think of the difference I could make in the world if I was more educated on the subject matter.
A graduate degree, however, is more than just an avenue for educational attainment.
On a college campus, students are surrounded by people with many specialties be used for years to come. Your network and personal interests will grow as you engage and learn.
Armed with my undergraduate and graduate degrees, I will be able to widen my job prospects — one of the perks of higher education. I will have more bargaining power in employment contract negotiations.
In the end, I wanted more education to better my life. So far, I’m getting the best experience I could have asked for.
Olivia Lewis is a Cappex freelancer and journalist. She is currently pursing her master’s degree in the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.