The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

UMW seniors consider their options after graduation

3 min read

Graduate school is required for some careers, making it the decision for some students, including Noah Smith. | Photo Courtesy of Grant Cragg / The Blue & Gray Press

by GRANT CRAGG

Staff Writer

College is a place where we grow intellectually and explore potential options for our next big decision, whether it be the choice to go to graduate school or directly join the workforce following graduation. Three of these students explained how they decided where to go after graduating from UMW. 

Graduate school can be an investment toward students’ future and is also a requirement of certain fields. 

“I decided to take the route of graduate school, specifically law school, because I’ve always wanted to be an attorney,” said Grace Clarke, a senior political science major. “I enjoy reading, writing and studying law. I think it is an interesting approach to solve problems. The route of law school has been the ultimate goal. The past couple of years I have been preparing and practicing both academically and mentally for this next step in life.”

According to an article from NBC, job opportunities are back on the rise after they plummeted at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Vaccines have created a job boom and many companies are now opening their doors to new employees after months of not hiring. 

One particular UMW student, Jack Landers, a senior business administration major, was able to capitalize on this job boom early this fall semester. 

“When I graduate I have a job lined up to be a data science engineer at a company called Inmar Intelligence,” said Landers. “At Inmar I will be working on automation, machine learning, AI, that whole broad spectrum of data science and of course data analytics on the backend of everything.”

Landers also provided some helpful tips for fellow UMW students who are looking to line up a job after graduating. 

“Just apply to as many positions as you can and reach out to hiring managers on Linkedin,” he said. “There are a bunch of good ways to connect with people within the company already. Definitely try to take advantage of UMW alums who are working in the field you’re interested in. There are a lot of ways you can do it, but the biggest thing is keep your foot on the gas and keep trying to apply.”

Like many students, Landers tossed around the idea of attending graduate school after graduating from UMW. 

“I was thinking about going to graduate school for data science or computer science, but that was all really dependent on potential job offers I would receive,” he said. “So, now that I have a job lined up, the option of graduate school is looking less likely to happen for an immediate plan for the future. It’s definitely still an option for a few years down the line.”

Clarke has decided on attending graduate school and has also provided tips for students interested in law school. 

“Don’t rush the process,” she said. “Start early enough so you don’t feel crammed studying for the LSAT and the application process. Take your time because you will be the best judge of if you’re ready.”  

Along with Clarke, Noah Smith, a senior biology major, has decided on graduate school. 

“Currently, I am applying to genetics programs for an MS (Masters in Science) in either genetics, molecular genetics or pharmacogenetics with the thought of pursuing a Ph.D. afterward,” said Smith. “My end goal is to eventually go into Biotech for pharmaceuticals.” 

Smith noted some tips for STEM majors interested in graduate school. 

“Get on your stuff early because it comes back to bite you,” he said. “Make sure if you’re a STEM major really bolt down on the classes outside your major ‘cause your GPA will take a hit as you go through STEM classes. Once you get to senior year you can’t really repair your GPA, you can only maintain it.” 

As students get closer to the end of their college chapter, there are many routes that could be considered depending on their desired career or life goals. For some, graduate school may be necessary or preferred, but others may benefit from going directly into the workforce. 

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