The Changing Face of the Graduate Student

Graduate students are becoming younger and more frequent on campus this semester.

Jessica Taylor, 24, a third year student, is a graduate assistant in the Graduate Admissions office at Lyle Hall.

Taylor, like many others of the changing face of graduate students, requires a graduate degree in order to succeed in her field; clinical psychology. She is lobbying to get more activities for graduate students. “We need initial support,” she said, “but unless we can prove ourselves it will be difficult.”

“A lot of students are older, non-traditional, and have jobs,” she continued, “but there is an influx of graduate students in their 20s and there is no campus housing for them.”

Angel Appel, 22, also a first-year graduate assistant in the Graduate Admissions office, agreed.

“We need their support, but so many graduate students are transient, it is difficult,” Appel said.

Appel is working for a Masters degree in school psychology. She feels disconnected from campus life but as she said, “It is my choice to be. I could stay but I am here enough as it is.”

Taylor also does not feel connected to campus life. However, she enjoys Millersville University as a whole.

“I like it a lot. I have lots of friends, there are interesting professors, and lots of things in the area,” she said.

Amanda Tyler, 22, is working on her first semester as a graduate student. She says, “I am not as involved as I was when I was an undergraduate student. I have less time with homework and my job.”

Disconnectedness from campus life is not the case for every graduate student.

Second year student Molly Roach, 24, said, “I feel more involved through my job as a Graduate Assistant, but not a whole lot otherwise. There are no clubs for us and very few events.”

These students also promote and encourage undergraduates to continue their education and get higher degrees.

Tyler said, “I encourage students to become graduate students. It is never a bad thing to have more education under your belt.”

One bonus to becoming a graduate student, as Tyler explained, is the possibility of obtaining a graduate assistantship. The program waives tuition and gives a stipend that is enough to pay for books and housing.

Roach’s reasoning for undergraduates pursuing a higher degree is that they “value higher education. It helps make you more marketable when applying for jobs. My professor said it was worth it, even if you cannot get financial aid or an assistantship.”

“The programs are designed for the working adult,” Roach continued.

“Almost all the classes are in the evening. The earliest classes start at 4 p.m. The trick is to plan everything out and have good time management,” Tyler said.

Taylor said that the Graduate program requires “a narrow focus and to commit more time,” but at the same time, “it is lots of fun.”

Taylor continues, “Unless you have a 100 percent certainty of getting a job it is highly recommended, especially in this economy.”

Appel agreed. “If you feel comfortable with your skills, then go for a job. You can always go back for a degree later on.”

These graduate students are happy to be at Millersville.