There are many reasons why a student might choose to attend Drexel University. The No. 1 reason for most students is the nationally recognized co-op program. With the current economic situation at hand, work experience is becoming increasingly important for students when searching for a full-time job. However, pursuing a graduate degree is also a worthy option that should be touted by Drexel more often.
In a university that heavily markets its co-op program, it only makes sense for it to nudge students into finding a job. The more students that can land full-time employment immediately after graduation, the more appealing the co-op program seems to prospective students.
Drexel’s Steinbright Career Development Center is constantly holding workshops to improve students’ resumes, interview skills and professional attire. What I would really like to see is for the other offices, devoted to graduate education, to follow suit in making their presence known among students.
One reason that many students do not go on to graduate school is the cost. The Fellowships Office should hold more events to inform students about the opportunities available to fund graduate school. Students should be encouraged to apply for grants at specific universities as well as national ones such as the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program and the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship, which allow study at one’s university of choice.
It may be hard to convince students to attend graduate school if they have not already planned for it, but there are many students who have their eyes set on continuing their education. In this situation, Drexel should offer more services to help those students with their applications. These applications typically involve a statement of purpose or a personal statement. Most students have probably never written either of these essays, and any guidance would be welcome.
Another important aspect of the application process is the letters of recommendation. While almost everyone is familiar with this, not everyone knows how many to have. Ideally, a student should have about five letters of recommendation from professors, advisers or supervisors from previous employment. Drexel cannot help in this facet, but more emphasis should be placed on students’ interactions with their professors to obtain these. A great letter comes from a professor who personally knows you, not simply one who gave you an A+.
Finally, one should not forget that Drexel can also serve as one’s graduate institution. While the weekly emails encouraging students to apply get annoying, they do convey valuable information. Drexel needs to find more ways to make current undergraduates interested in staying for master’s or doctoral degrees.
While co-op may be perfect for finding a job, a Drexel education also prepares you for graduate studies. Do not dismiss this as an option immediately. If you want resources to help you on your graduate path, they are there, but you may have to seek them out yourself.
Roberto Salome is a senior majoring in computer engineering and can be reached at [email protected].