Tuesday, May 1, 2018

The Gradventures of Applying for Masters Degree Programs

Hi! My name is Maggie Addiego and I’m a senior Psychology major and Sociology/Music minor. I’ve been at Hofstra all four years of my college career and now it’s finally time to graduate! As a psychology student, I learned that there aren’t many job opportunities available in the psychology field that you can apply to with just a Bachelors.

I am the type of person that likes to have everything planned out ­— spontaneity isn’t necessarily my forte. This was the case when it came to determining how I wanted to proceed with my future career. I met with numerous psychology professors, a family friend who was a clinical therapist for over 30 years, and I even spoke to the director of Hofstra’s Mental Health Counseling program when I was a sophomore. I contemplated how I wanted to go about being a clinical therapist until I thought I had finally figured out my path: I was going to graduate, get my Masters in Mental Health Counseling, and get my PsyD as a Clinical Psychotherapist!

Working at the Career Center, I was surrounded by opinions from professionals on what possibilities I should be considering for my future. I (proudly) mentioned what the plan was to one of the counselors…to which she responded with an “what?!” facial expression. “Why would you spend 4 extra years of your life and $60,000 extra on something you can get for 2 years and less money?” she said. “Get your Masters and you’re good.” For what I wanted to do, I could get my Masters in Mental Health Counseling and have almost the same opportunities as I would with my PsyD; I’d be able to have my own practice and work with clients one-on-one. Knowing my path was just the first step, figuring out where I wanted to make my goals a reality was the next part of my plan.

Going through the process of picking out a graduate school is very similar to the process you went through picking out Hofstra as the place to spend your undergraduate career. The only difference is you have a better idea of what you want to be looking for when it comes to programs. So, I searched up the best MHC programs in the Long Island and New York City area, sent my application over, and waited. I applied to Hofstra, St. John’s University, and SUNY Baruch, heard back from them relatively quickly, and went in for interviews. On the spot, I had Hofstra and St. John’s tell me I was accepted into their program, but Baruch still hasn’t gotten back to me (my interview was March 26th). Hofstra had given me a deadline as to when I would be able to accept their offer, so I was quickly approaching the end of the tunnel.

As every college student knows, finances can be an issue. For me, this was no exception. Colleges and universities are extremely expensive, and graduate school programs are even more so. My family had gone through a traumatic event that left us with a little less money than expected. Keeping this in mind, I had to juggle between the financial aspect of this already-difficult decision and finding the best program for me and my future. With time (and a lot of playing with numbers and sending in Graduate Assistantship Applications), I finally made the decision.

I decided that for the next 2.5 years, I will be spending more time here at Hofstra getting my Masters in Mental Health Counseling! Coming to this conclusion was super exciting (and anxiety-relieving) and made me even more ready to graduate with my Bachelor’s degree. It was not easy and nobody expected it to be, but knowing that I will be coming out with a degree that I want and that can benefit society is something that I very much look forward to!

So if you are looking to apply to graduate school, I honestly recommend going with your gut. Take a look at your financial situations, figure out what is realistic for you, and realize that selecting a graduate school is instinctual. Do your research on the schools you are interested in and make sure their program is accredited and has a good reputation. Once that’s all settled, apply and wait. If you plan ahead and organize effectively, you will get your acceptance letters and then it’s all up to you! Good luck with all your future endeavors, graduate school or otherwise!

Maggie Addiego
Student Assistant, Hofstra Career Center

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