20saver


…Grad school?
May 14, 2008, 7:37 pm
Filed under: Careers, Grad School, Library Science

Going back to my alma mater and participating in my commencement ceremony has really gotten me seriously thinking about attending grad school. It’s an idea I’ve been kicking around for the last few years without any sort of resolution because I’ve always just kind of pushed it aside as something I’d deal with in the future.

I’m leaning towards getting my masters in library science because it’s a degree that translates directly into concrete jobs and a career, something getting my masters in English literature really wouldn’t do. I’ve been working at a library for 6 months now and, while I’m not thrilled about what I’m currently doing, I know of positions in the field that I would enjoy doing, probably for a long time. These positions would only be available to me if I get my library science degree.

There’s a small problem with going for a MLS degree: there are no schools in Virginia that offer it. This leaves me with two options: get my degree online or move to go to a school that does offer the degree. I was considering just doing it online, but being back on campus with all my friends and professors made me realize that I want the community environment that goes along with higher education. I would feel like I’d be short changing myself if I settled for an online program. So, moving it is.

Well, Jake and I aren’t ready to move yet. We’re about to sign a lease on a new apartment, he’s got a steady job, and he’s commited to his band. The lease will be up in a year and there are tons of locations Jake could relocate to for his job, but Jake’s not ready to (and I’m not ready to make him) give up on his band. Maybe in a year, if the band’s not getting anywhere, we’ll be able to move.

There’s always the possibility that I could move and go to school and Jake could stay in Richmond for the two-ish years it will take to finish the degree. The closest school is UNC- Chapel Hill which just so happens to have the top rated LS program in the nation and is probably going to be my top choice if I decide to go for it. Chapel Hill is a little shy of 3 hours away, so it would be possible for us to see each other for long weekends and such, but would we really want to do that to our relationship? Not really.

Which brings me to another point- if I decide to go to grad school in a year, when are we going to get married? I highly doubt we’ll have enough money saved up to get married before I go since the money we save will probably go towards paying for grad school and all of the related expenses. But I don’t really want to wait 3 more years to get married…

Before I make any definite decisions, I want to get a good idea of how much grad school is going to cost and how feasible it will actually be for Jake and me to afford it. I’ve already taken 3 GRE books out of the library to study up. While I am saving about $35 a pop by getting the books from the library, the test itself is going to cost $140 each time I take it (hopefully no more than twice). There are some library science programs that don’t require GRE scores, but I don’t want to limit myself to only those schools.

Beyond the test, I don’t really know what to expect, money-wise. I should get instate tuition no matter where I go because Virginia doesn’t offer a library science program so I’m forced to go out of state, but I don’t know how much aid I’ll be offered (I really don’t want any more loans) or how I’ll support myself while I’m taking classes.

I would absolutely love any insight any of my readers can offer, especially if you’re in grad school now or recently graduated.