Can You Teach English Abroad During College? Everything You Need To Know About Teaching English Overseas

Here at the WayUp Guide, we know that going abroad is more than just an extended vacation. It’s an opportunity to truly broaden your horizons and invite new ways of thinking into your life. Connection with other people is a huge part of that process. To teach English abroad is to connect with a group of people trying to do the same thing that you are: Participate in a global society.

We’ve put together this piece to tell you everything you need to know about teaching English abroad.

Is It possible To Teach English While Studying Abroad?

For the most part, having your own classroom while you’re studying abroad in a traditional program is very rare. If you’re already headed to Europe, Asia, or anywhere else on a study abroad program and you’re hoping to teach English while you’re there for a semester, the chances of doing this in an institution are very low. Even if it were more widely available, it would take a huge chunk of your time (given that it would come in addition to classes). The added stress of having a job, classes, and everything else would probably do more harm than good to your experience.

It is, however, very possible to teach English to individuals as a tutor or to work with an organization on a smaller scale. If you’re interested in tutoring foreign students, there are plenty of opportunities to teach English. This is especially true if you’re in a big city with universities. Some people are even unofficially hired to teach English to interested groups at community centers or other organizations. However, accepting a paid position comes with a web of legal entanglements. (You can read more about the dangers of that here.)

Given that getting paid to teach English is usually difficult, you can always tutor/teach on a volunteer basis. This is nice because there’s a much smaller time commitment when it comes to volunteering. Ask your study abroad program director or your study abroad office if such opportunities are available at your site. Students who came before you may have already done similar programs. If not, you can always call around to local universities or schools and ask if they need a volunteer.

Teaching English while you’re studying abroad, on a small scale, is definitely doable.

Teaching English Abroad In A Summer Program

If you’re really interested in the full teaching experience, then you should consider a summer program.

Again, if you’re an undergrad, most of the positions available to you will be on a volunteer basis. However, those programs will often pay for your room and board. You might also receive a small stipend for spending money. The best places to find programs like these are developing countries. Established economies like those in Europe and East Asia will usually have higher educational standards for English teachers.

If you want a paid position, then you should look into to getting a TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) or TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) certification to bolster your resume. After that, it should be much easier to find a paid position without having to first pay a private service like Geovisions to scout out a position for you (although that is a fine option).

However, as we’ll talk about in the next section, a certification is not strictly necessary. And there are most certainly options for those looking to teach without them.

Do You Need A Certification To Teach English Abroad?

The short answer is, no. There are many programs that do not require certifications for undergrads looking to teach English in the summer. For the other types of tutoring or small-group teaching positions, those are usually undocumented to begin with and won’t require any certification. However, even programs that do allow undergrads to teach without certification will sometimes say they prefer it and favor students who do have it.

As we mentioned above, having a TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) or TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) certification can add a lot to your resume as a potential teacher. However, it is totally possible to teach without a certification. Check out our list of programs below to see which ones do and don’t require certification.

These certifications cost approximately $500 and can usually be completed through an online course.

Longer English Teacher programs for after graduation have different requirements. But you don’t have to worry about going through official government training or getting certifications when you’re an undergrad (usually).

Here Are Some Great Programs And Resources To Check Out.

Find programs and jobs:

  • Dave’s ESL Cafe — Resource for connecting ESL (English as a Second Language) teachers and students from around the world.

  • API Study Abroad — Program that sends people around the world to teach English and volunteer.

  • AIESEC US — Non-profit, student-run group connecting teachers and students in more than 107 countries and territories.

  • Alliance Abroad/AIDE — Career site for teaching English abroad in Europe, Africa, and Southeast Asia.

  • Interexchange — Site connecting students and recent grads with programs to travel abroad, teach English, and volunteer (will help you become TEFL-certified).

  • World Teach — Program connecting students and recent grads with opportunities to teach English abroad during the year, for a semester, or during the summer.

  • International Volunteer HQ — Organization connecting students with volunteer programs, some of which involve teaching English.

There are a ton of other programs and organizations out there! This list is just to get the ball rolling!

Find program reviews/ratings/details:

  • CIEE — Organization that helps you find study abroad/teach abroad programs that are right for you.

  • Go Overseas — Find reviews, compiled ratings, and program details.

  • Study Abroad 101 — Reviews, ratings, and more.

For all your other study abroad, internship, or career questions, be sure to check out the WayUp Guide for more!

Study Abroad 101: Everything You Need To Know

What is study abroad?

Study Abroad or Study Away programs are options provided by universities and colleges to complete a semester, year, or sometimes even more of your degree program on a different campus, usually in a foreign country.

These programs are an excellent opportunity to see a new part of the world, experience a different culture, and TRAVEL. Temporarily relocating to Europe, Asia, or anywhere else means having an excellent opportunity to take advantage of plentiful (and often relatively cheap) travel options. This allows you to maximize your experience and exposure to new places.

How can I sign up?

How do you sign up? Most of the programs are through partnerships your institution has with a program or foreign university. Some schools—like NYU—even have their own global campus locations where they send their students.

However, many schools (even those with programs) allow their students to apply to public or “all inclusive” study abroad programs for students from a variety of institutions. These types of programs are particularly useful for people with a desire to study at a niche location and/or for a specific subject (like going to Pompeii for Archaeology!).

If you type your school’s name and “study abroad,” you will usually be able to find your school’s landing page or study abroad office. From there you’ll be able to sign up for info sessions, schedule an appointment with a study abroad counselor, and—most of the time—apply directly through the site.

Making sure you have the right paperwork for study abroad.

Whether it’s visas, vaccinations, or vacation planning, there’s a ton of documentation that goes along with study abroad.

Living, studying, and (maybe) working in a foreign country adds up to a lot of paperwork. It’s a coordinated effort between two or more governments, universities, parents, doctors, friends, and—most important—you!

Lots of countries require you to have a student visa (although some do not). You can check to see if your desired location does on sites like the State Department’s student visa guide.

You’ll need a visa for not only your desired study location but also any travel/vacation locations. Whether you need an additional visa will depend on the local laws, whether that country has reciprocity with your student visa (some countries in Europe do), and technical details like the duration of your stay.

Beyond visas, you’re going to need an up-to-date passport that won’t expire while you’re abroad. You’ll also want something in addition to your passport (so you don’t have to carry it around all the time). To verify your age at bars, clubs, restaurants, and other places, you should bring your license or government ID card. Places in some countries won’t accept this, so you’ll need a Proof of Age card just in case. (Check your country’s rules on that before you go.)

There are also vaccination and health screening requirements for most countries. That said, you’ll need certified documentation to prove that you’re in the proper shape to live in another place.

Can I work or volunteer while I study abroad?

It all depends on whether your student visa allows you to work or not. Some countries will not allow foreign students to work at all. Others allow foreign students with basic student visas to work. Yet other countries require you to fill out a special application to get permission to work. Be sure to search country- or region-specific working requirements if that’s something you’re interested in.

Even remote work like journalism, video editing, or anything else done entirely digitally requires special permissions to actually get paid while you’re completing the work in another country.

Volunteering while studying abroad is usually a different story, because there’s no salary or paycheck involved. Since there aren’t tax status issues, volunteering is usually available to foreign students. However, some countries do require you to apply to join any organizations. Before you depart, be sure to check your destination’s requirements.

There are also plenty of programs that let you volunteer or work as an English teacher abroad, read more about that here.

However, most students find that between traveling, class, and meeting new people, there isn’t much time for a job—even a part-time one.

For a full guide to study/working abroad, check out this post on the WayUp guide.

Will study abroad credits work with my degree program?

This is why having approval from your university is essential. Make sure your academic advisor is aware of your plans to study abroad as far in advance as possible. That way, you can plan around the limited class options abroad and the standing degree requirements you have to complete before graduation.

Most locations will not have all the classes you need to complete your degree. And some schools won’t accept core requirements done at a non-university program. So you MUST check with your academic advisor. Your school’s study abroad office may be able to help you work with your advisor, fill out forms to become exempt from certain requirements, or clear a certain class abroad with a major or core curriculum requirement.

It’s tricky to plan this far ahead in your academic career. But it’s totally essential if you want to have the best experience and graduate on time.

Study Abroad programs require careful planning, but have a huge payoff.

It’s a big challenge to successfully plan a months-long trip abroad. That’s especially true when you’re going to school, taking trips, and perhaps even working or volunteering. Yet completing something like this will not only enrich your life with a whole host of amazing experiences but also prove that you can handle a major undertaking. Being able to contend with something like this is a significant stepping stone in adult life.

For all your other study abroad questions and more detailed explanations, be sure to check out the WayUp guide for more!

Can I Volunteer While Studying Abroad? Everything You Need To Know About Volunteering Overseas

Is It Possible To Volunteer While Studying Abroad?

Totally, yes. If you can find the right opportunity to volunteer while studying abroad, then you can access a whole world of benefits and new experiences. You’ll get working experience without having to navigate the complex legal jungle of permits, regulations, and foreign tax codes that come along with a paid position. You also get to help and connect with people from circumstances very different than your own. That is a learning experience that has its own immense value.

However, some phony organizations exist that charge foreigners money for empty experiences or lure them into bad situations. That said, knowing what you’re looking for before you arrive is absolutely essential.

To help you get the most out of your study abroad experience, we at the WayUp guide have compiled  everything you need to know about volunteering while studying abroad.

Volunteer Study Abroad Programs Vs. Volunteering While Studying Abroad

Some study abroad programs are designed, from the beginning, to center around a volunteer or humanitarian mission. These programs can be offered by your university and specific school departments or through open organizations like API Study Abroad or International Volunteer HQ.

For programs like these, you’ll usually travel to places with more pressing volunteer needs than large European or Asian metropolises. Some of these programs will offer college credit for the volunteer work in lieu of classes. Others will offer both volunteer work AND classes for credit.

You could be building wells and studying local government policy in rural Indian villages or work on environmental conservation in a village near the Brazilian rain forest. No matter what your major or interest is, there are a ton of opportunities to dive deeper into your academic field and actually affect the lives of others.

These types of programs are designed to make your volunteer effort the centerpiece of your experience. As such, they’re quite different from the latter type of activity: Undertaking a volunteer position or project while you’re on a traditional study abroad program.

This is a more traditional route, similar to getting a part-time job while going to school. You’ll be able to control, for the most part, how much of a time commitment it is. That makes it much more manageable if you have a heavy class load and lots of travel plans. You can usually find these by asking your study abroad campus administration. Luckily, most places will have organizations where they regularly send students, so you’ll know what kind of experience is headed your way.

Volunteering Abroad Safety: Finding A Legitimate, Trusted Program, Organization, Or Project

Unfortunately, there are plenty of for-profit organizations that will do their best to take as much money from you while giving you as little guidance, support, and opportunity as possible. This can be especially dangerous if you’re going to a place with less infrastructure for finding alternate opportunities or connecting with the outside world. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you are working with a verified, trusted program that both helps a real cause AND provides you with an enriching experience.

The easiest way to find a trustworthy program is to ask your study abroad office/study abroad counselor if your school has any partnerships with existing programs (This also helps you secure college credit more easily so you can still graduate on time.) Even if they don’t have established partnerships with programs, they might know of other students who have had successful experiences. They might even be able to set you up with someone who could talk to you about the experience.

Going through your school is the best method for safety purposes. It also ensures that you’ll have a point-of-contact at your college to help you if anything goes wrong or the program doesn’t suit you. If your school doesn’t have a study abroad office, your academic advisor or a professor might be able to direct you to an opportunity.

The next best method, if you’re looking for something your school doesn’t necessarily offer, is to use thorough online reviews, forums, and blogs. Sites like Go Overseas or Study Abroad 101 compile trusted reviews and flag recurring issues from participants to help you make your decision. For instance, take this review of API Study Abroad. Things to watch out for are programs that redirect you to local charities without any institutional support and those that lack bureaucracy. Other red flags are exploitative for-profit organizations, programs that don’t give their students/volunteers enough work, programs where there are no other students, and programs that put students in dangerous or unsupervised situations.

It’s not all bad, though. There are thousands of reviews, blogs, and trustworthy sources for finding the right program. You’ll find your fit, just be cautious and thorough!

Benefits Of Volunteering While Studying Abroad

There are so many benefits to getting volunteer experience while you’re abroad. It’ll help your resume, your future job prospects, and your personal development.

Volunteer work is work, and work experience in a foreign country is amazing for your resume. It means you’ve interacted with people from different cultures, possibly have foreign language skills, and possess the entrepreneurial spirit required to seek out work outside the borders of your homeland.

Volunteering while studying abroad shows that you are not someone who is satisfied with being a mere tourist. It will give you a plethora of stories, experiences, and situations you can bring up in future job interviews. Plus, if you ever want to return to your study abroad destination—say London—and work there after graduation, you can say you “have experience working in a British organization.”

Beyond the tangible benefits, volunteer work of any kind, anywhere, exposes you to people outside your normal sphere. This can give you perspective and a sense of purpose that can help define your character for the rest of your life. As the saying goes, to help others is to help yourself.

If you’re interested in learning specifically about teaching English abroad as a volunteer or paid teacher, check out this WayUp Guide post here.

For more study abroad FAQs, tips, and info, check out the WayUp Guide right now!

How to Apply to Internships Online and Not Get Lost in The Black Hole

“A black hole is a region of space-time from which it is impossible to escape.”
Stephen Hawkins

One of the biggest questions we hear from students is what happens to my application after I hit submit?  Does it ever reach a college recruiter’s desk, does it ever get read or is it simply launched out into space?  In the HR world this is referred to as the applicant black hole, because once you send an application online into it’s very easy for it to disappear into space.

This problem exists for a number of reasons but the fact is that fewer than 5% of employers follow-up with every applicant they receive and even fewer communicate the real reasons about why they made the choice they did.

While it might seem easy to blame companies for not doing a better job of responding, the reality is that most HR managers receive hundreds of applications every week and are over worked reviewing them — so it’s up to you to stand out. By understanding a bit more about how the online application process works, you can figure out how to navigate this abyss and make sure you emerge on the other side with your ideal internship.
Where do all the resumes go?

As you can probably guess, applications for internships rarely follow the same path. Some employers ask you to apply directly to their email inbox. Others ask for you to apply using a job website like Taleo or WayUp so that they can save the applications in a database online and share them with other employees in the office.

Depending on the size of the employer and how they are accepting applications you need to think up the best strategy to make sure you don’t get overlooked when it comes to decision time. For example, if you’re given a contact name or email address, do some research on the individual and customize your application materials to them personally.

Building a better rocket ship!

The other important skill to develop when applying for internships online is to learn how to make your application stand out among the competition.

Here are 5 tips to help:

1.) Follow-Up!

The biggest piece of advice we can recommend to avoid getting ignored is to follow-up consistently with an employer after you submit an application. This is an art not a science, but most students are way too hesitant to follow-up with employers even if just to ask what the time frame is on responding or to remind them that you have applied. For best practices see our guide on how to follow-up with employers.

2.) Remove all typos from your resume.

Another reason you may not hear back from employers is because they tossed out your resume at first sight. Even if you have one typo on your resume, it shows an employer a lack of professionalism and attention to detail. In fact almost 50% of employers stop reading a resume if they see just one typo! So double check your resume and check out our resume guide for extra help.

3.) Be unique.

As an employer who has hired many students I can safely say, my job is a lot easier when a particular student breaks the mold by standing out. Don’t just spam employers with a standard cover letter, take the extra hour to write something and make a unique cover letter. If the employer has a twitter account tweet at them about how excited you are. If they are coming to your school for a career fair, go and introduce yourself to the recruiting staff and start building a relationship. Your hard work will pay off when it comes to decision time.

4.) Don’t use scammy websites to apply for positions!

Top job boards like your Career Center website or WayUp work hard to make sure every position that is online is up to date and is a high quality position. If you are finding positions by doing a Google search or on Craigslist, you may find some great opportunities but as a rule of thumb the further you go from trusted sites the more likely you are to be applying to a position that has either already closed or doesn’t exist altogether.

5.) Don’t get discouraged.

Last but not least don’t get discouraged. A lot of employers are getting overwhelmed with applications in the current down economy, so even if you are over qualified for a position you simply might not hear back. If you keep at it and keep improving your application skills such as following-up, being unique, and using top job boards, you are going to start getting interviews and eventually find a position you’re excited about.

If you have any questions about the black hole or how to avoid it, feel free to comment or send us emails to support@wayup.com and we are happy to help.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as What is an Internship? and find answers to common interview questions such as What’s Your Dream Job?

Top 10 Things You Should Look For In a Company

Whether you’re looking for a paid or unpaid internship or an entry-level job, finding a great position goes way beyond the job description. From company culture to opportunities for growth, there are several things you should keep in mind when deciding between potential employers.

Here are the top things to look for in a company.

1. Do the company’s values align with yours?

One of the most important things to consider when researching potential employers is how their values align with yours. This is because working for a company is about a lot more than just the hours you put in each day. It’s about knowing that the company values some of the same things you do (like honesty, integrity and hard work) and understanding how those values match up with your own. Whether it’s finding a company with a model you admire or one that takes environmental action seriously and donates money to prevent global warming, you should feel that you and your potential employer stand for the same things and that you can build a lasting relationship.

2. Does the company culture fit your personality?

Many employers list cultural fit as the most important thing they look for when interviewing candidates, and you should put this at the top of your list too. For example, if you’re more comfortable in a relaxed environment than a conservative one, then a company with a corporate culture might not be a great fit for you. Before you sign that offer letter, take the time to assess how you’d fit in at the company and how the company culture would fit you.

3. Are the team members people you’d love to work with?

Whether it’s an internship or a full-time job, you’re going to be spending a lot of time with your new co-workers so it’s important to make sure that they’re people you’d like to work with. This goes hand-in-hand with cultural fit and it’s something you should be aware of when considering a new opportunity. The average American spends around one-third of each weekday at work, so having co-workers you get along with is a key part of being happy at your job.

4. Will you be offered opportunities to learn?

Having the chance to learn new things is important in any position, but it’s especially important during the early stages of your career. For that reason, finding an internship or full-time job that allows you to learn as much as possible is key to the development of your career.

5. Is there room for growth within the company?

In addition to offering you opportunities to learn about the industry, a great company should also offer opportunities for advancement within the organization. This is even more important in the case of internships and entry-level jobs because the opportunity for a promotion (or a full-time job) is a great incentive to learn as much as possible and prove your commitment to the team. The exception to this is if you’re not looking for a long-term opportunity but are looking to gain experience for a year or two before going to grad school.

6. Will your managers make you feel appreciated?

Feeling appreciated is an important part of any life experience, but it’s especially important in your working life. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that there should be company-sponsored happy hours or free weekly lunches, it does mean that your employer should make you feel valued by offering positive feedback and supporting your efforts to learn and improve.

7. Does the company offer security and stability?

One of the most important things a company can offer its employees is a secure and stable environment. This doesn’t just mean a regular paycheck (although that’s part of it), but also a proven history of steady success and a sense of job security. Although it’s unrealistic to expect smooth sailing all the time, a solid track record is a great indication that the company can provide you with the type of environment you need to succeed.

8. Does the company set you up for success?

Although a lot of your professional success will depend on you, there are several things an employer can do to set you for a great outcome. This includes everything from in-depth training to goal setting and regular feedback, factors that are especially important as your begin your career.

9. Will your role teach your transferrable skills?

In addition to offering training for your current role, a great company will set you up for future success by teaching you transferrable skills that you can use in your next position. When applying for a job, ask yourself what you can learn from the role and don’t be afraid to discuss training opportunities and skill building during your interview.

10. Will you be challenged in a positive way?

Being challenged to learn and to grow is one of the key markers of a great company. In fact, getting out of your company zone is one of the best ways to learn new skills and to find out who you are as a professional. Look for companies that make you feel enthusiastic about taking on new challenges and offer the support you need to turn those challenges into wins.

Whether you’re embarking on your first job search or your fifth, finding a company that will provide you with great opportunities requires some research. By following these tips, you’ll be sure to find the right fit and to give yourself the best chance of success.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How Much Should I be Paid at an Entry-Level Job? and find answers to common interview questions such as What’s Your Dream Job?

3 Cover Letter Mistakes You Never Knew You Were Making

One of the keys to landing an awesome job is starting off on the right foot with the recruiter. Writing a strong resume and filling out your WayUp profile are the best ways to get started, but if you want to really stand out, a cover letter can be a great way to demonstrate the value you can bring to an organization. That said, few things are as annoying to recruiters as a poorly written cover letter. So, what can you do to ensure that yours make a good impression? Here are the top three cover letter mistakes and tips on what you can do to fix them.

1. Focusing too much on yourself and your resume.

Although it’s great to list one or two key accomplishments that are relevant to the role you’re applying for, your cover letter shouldn’t rehash your resume. In fact, it should focus on the things that you can bring to the table and only mention the skills and experience that are most relevant to the position. Instead of summarizing your achievements, go beyond your resume and make your experiences personal to the job.

Pro Tip: Quantifying achievements with metrics is a wonderful way to demonstrate the impact you’ve had at previous jobs and to help hiring managers envision you as a member of their team.

2. Making it longer than a page.

Another common cover letter mistake a lot of college students and recent grads make is to write a letter that’s far too long. Although this might be tempting (after all, you want to show the hiring manager that you’ve done a lot of cool things and could do a wonderful job for them), it’s important to remember that employers are often quite busy and often don’t have time to read a two-page letter. Instead of telling them your whole life story, focus on conveying your enthusiasm for the role and highlighting 2-3 key things that define your work and your personality.

Pro Tip: Knowing how to structure your cover letter will go a long way toward ensuring that you get it right. We recommend keeping it to three paragraphs with the first paragraph mentioning why you’re applying for the position, the second paragraph explaining your interest in the role and the industry and the third paragraph discussing your qualifications. This is a great way to ensure that you’re hitting on all the right points without going overboard on the length.

3. Not checking for typos and grammar mistakes.

Of all the mistakes you can make on your cover letter, not proofreading for typos is probably the worst. This signifies a lack of attention and also a lack of care, two things that are unlikely to impress recruiters. The best way to avoid this is by making sure to read through your letter at least three times and asking a friend or family member to take a look at it too.

Pro Tip: Here’s a proofreading tip you may not have heard before: Reading backwards is an excellent way to catch spelling mistakes that you might otherwise gloss over. The best way to do it is by going through the letter word by word (starting with your signature) and working your way to the top.

While a strong cover letter can help you get noticed by employers, a weak one might hurt your chances of getting hired. By knowing what mistakes to look out for — and what to do if they pop up — you’ll be able to write the kind of cover letter that will help you stand out from the crowd.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Become a Financial Analyst and find answers to common interview questions such as Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?

What Is a Psychology Major and Is it Right for Me?

Are you fascinated by human behavior and interested in figuring out what makes people tick? Are you passionate about helping others and helping them work through difficult situations? If you answered yes to these questions, a psychology major might just be for you.

What is a psychology major?

Psychology is the study of human behavior at both the individual and group level. As a psychology major, you’ll learn about the various factors that affect mental health (such as cultural and environmental factors), and about the different dynamics that can impact the psychology of a particular group. You’ll also dive deep into the world of psychological disorders and learn about common mental health issues including anxiety and depression.

In psychology classes, you’ll learn the basics of cognitive function and then go on to study advanced theories about what drives particular types of behaviors. Covering physiology, statistics and experimental psychology, this major will give some solid insights into the inner workings of the human brain.

Is it right for me?

Psychology is an exciting field with plenty of career opportunities for those interested in helping people and learning more about the nuances of human interaction.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when deciding whether a psychology major is right for you:

  • Am I excited to do in-depth research on mental health and human relationships?
  • Am I open-minded? Am I able to be objective about the things I’m learning and able to adjust my views accordingly?
  • Do I handle feedback well? Will I be able to deal with constructive feedback from my professors and classmates?
  • Am I willing to devote a lot of time to reading and understanding clinical research in the field?

What can I do with a psychology degree?

A psychology major can be applied to a broad range of fields including social work and teaching. Popular career paths for psychology majors include:

  • Psychologist
  • Social worker
  • Professor
  • Career counselor
  • Non-profit aid worker
  • Guidance counselor
  • Teacher

What do people who major in psychology earn?

The earning potential for psychology majors depends a lot on the types of career paths they choose. For example, entry-level social workers earn approximately $40,000 per year while clinical psychologists with advanced degrees can earn as much as $110,000. No matter what career path you choose, a psychology major will help you develop a broad range of skills that can help you be successful in any role.

What Are the Different Types of Graduate Degrees?

With 2.4 million jobs predicted to require graduate degrees by 2024, application rates for grad schools have increased significantly in recent years. If you’re thinking of going to grad school, you might be wondering about the different types of degrees available and how each one lines up with your specific interests. For example, what can you expect from an MBA program and how can you decide whether it’s right for you.

Here are the most common types of graduate degrees.

Master’s Degree (M.A., M.S., M.F.A, MBA)

The most common type of graduate degree is a master’s degree. Typically consisting of one to two years of study, master’s programs cover a wide variety of specialties including arts and humanities (M.A. or MFA), science and technology (M.S.) and business (MBA). These programs generally combine structured coursework with independent study and often require you to submit a thesis in order to complete the program’s requirements.

Good to Know: In recent years, MBA programs have increased in popularity due to their reputation for helping candidates develop skills that will help them advance in their careers and earn higher salaries. In fact, MBA graduates typically earn 45 percent more than candidates with a bachelor’s degree.

Doctoral Degree (Ph.D.)

Another common graduate degree is a doctoral degree (Ph.D.). Spanning a wide variety of subjects such as psychology, history, computer science and engineering, doctoral degrees are designed to expand your understanding of a specific subject by building on the knowledge gained during a master’s program. These degrees are also a requirement for anyone wishing to become a professor or to have a research career in academia.

Good to Know: Although many of those who complete a Ph.D. go on to work in higher education, this is not the only available career path. Industries like management consulting, investment banking and tech are constantly looking for candidates with a specialized academic background.

Juris Doctor Degree (J.D.)

For those who are interested in a career in law, going to law school and getting a juris doctor degree (J.D.) is a great first step toward a legal career. A three-year program with a focus on both general legal principles and specific types of case law, a juris doctor degree prepares you to work in all aspects of the legal field and advocate on behalf of others.

Good to Know: Not all lawyers become practicing attorneys. Other career paths include finance and business, with many non-practicing lawyers focusing on entrepreneurship.

Doctor of Medicine Degree (M.D.)

One of the most prestigious types of graduate degrees is a doctor of medicine degree (M.D.). A four-year program combining coursework with clinical practice, medical school expands on the knowledge gained during an undergraduate education and develops the skills needed for a career as a physician.

Good to Know: In addition to earning an M.D. degree, physicians are required to complete a residency program lasting three to four years to gain hands-on experience in a clinical setting.

Doctor of Dental Surgery Degree (D.D.S.)

Similar to an M.D. program, a D.D.S. program is a requirement for those who wish to become dentists. Structured as a four-year program combining clinical practice and academic study, dental school teaches dental anatomy and patient care and prepares aspiring dentists for a career as clinicians.

Good to Know: Like medicine, dentistry has a high earning potential, particularly for more specialized areas like oral surgery. These areas often require additional postgraduate study but they also open up additional career opportunities.

Choosing a grad school program can be one of the most important decisions of your career. By knowing what each program entails, you’ll be able to pick a program that’s right for you.

Next, learn more about grad school such as How to Pick an MBA Program and get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Get the Job You Really Want.

Cover Letter Guides

Before writing a cover letter, it’s important to understand how it can help or hurt you. In the internship application process a cover letter is your first impression. It’s an opportunity to tell a perspective employer why you’re the perfect fit for their internship and their office and just as importantly, a cover letter is an opportunity to tell an employer you don’t care about their position, by writing a sloppy or template cover letter. Some valuable cover letter topics include, explaining why a position interests you, what you bring to the table, how you would be a great fit, or something unique about you that makes you different from the hundreds of other candidates. The ultimate goal of your cover letter is to get the reader excited to meet you for an interview to learn more.

To summarize the points above, ingredients needed to make a successful cover letter are:

Header with contact information:

Including a header with your contact information on the cover letter makes you look professional and ensures your information will be easy to find. You should also consider including this header on all documents you’re submitting when applying, it demonstrates your professionalism and acts as an opportunity to brand yourself to the perspective employer.

Who is your audience?

Try to find the person who is in charge of intern hiring and address your cover letter and resume to them. Statistics show you have a better chance of being hired if you know who’s doing the hiring and if you recognize them, so take some time to research who will be reviewing your submitted materials and write to them specifically.

The hook:

The person reviewing applicant cover letters and resumes will most likely be going through more than you can imagine, so it’s extremely important to hook ‘em with the first line of your cover letter. Start your cover letter with a statement that will catch the reader’s eye, you can try an interesting or entertaining fact that relates you to the company. Always try your hardest to avoid the typical salutations used in writing, because chances are, your reader has already come across many and is sick of seeing them.

What I do and what I can do for you:

Employers want to know what you can bring to the table, so why beat around the bush, give them what they want! It’s rare for a hiring manager to read an entire cover letter from start to finish, so try using bullet points and bolded text to help identify the important information they’ll be searching for.

Finish strong, let your confidence shine:

Let the company know why you want to work for them and that you really believe you would be a good fit with their team, their company culture, and company community. Also, adding a signature will personalize your cover letter and help you stand out with a sense of professionalism.

What Is Grad School?

Whether you’re just starting college or about to graduate, you might be wondering whether you should go to grad school. This could be especially true if you’re considering a career in law or medicine, fields that require significant postgraduate education.

Before you decide, here are some of the key things you need to know about grad school.

What is grad school?

Grad school (or graduate school) is any form of postgraduate education that focuses on one particular area of study. Depending on the subject you choose, this can be anything from business to law or even the humanities. Designed to deepen your understanding of your chosen subject and turn you into a specialist in your field, grad school can vary in length from two years for a master’s degree to seven years for a Ph.D. and usually includes a combination of coursework and independent study.

How is grad school different from college?

While college gives you a broad overview of several subjects and helps you identify which subject you’re truly passionate about, grad school allows you to become an expert in that subject and to explore it in detail. Depending on the program you choose, grad school also has a different structure than college, generally consisting of classes, independent study and a final project such as a thesis or dissertation.

What types of grad school programs are there?

Grad school programs vary depending on the academic subject and the type of degree. Popular programs include Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) programs for medical students, Juris Doctor (J.D.) programs for law students, Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) programs for business students and a broad range of master’s and Ph.D. programs in subjects including psychology, biochemistry and history.

What should I consider when deciding whether to go to grad school?

Deciding whether to go to grad school comes down to two things: 1) Your desire to continue your course of study and 2) Your career goals. For example, if you’re passionate about law, going to law school to pursue a Juris Doctor degree is a must if you want to become a lawyer. The same goes for those wishing to me doctors who must attend medical school and get a Doctor of Medicine degree in order to practice. For others, such as creative writers or computer programmers, a graduate degree is not required in order to advance in the field though some may choose to do it in order to develop their skills and knowledge.

Pro Tip: Beyond your career goals, two other important factors to consider are time and cost. Since grad school typically requires a minimum two-year commitment in addition to tuition costs, it’s important to have a clear understanding of how this degree can help you before entering into a graduate program.

A great way to boost your knowledge and expand your career options, grad school can be a powerful way to develop new skills. By knowing what to expect and what factors to consider, you’ll be able to decide if grad school is right for you.