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Seniors decide between careers, entering grad school

Like most students counting down the days to graduation, Binghamton University’s class of 2004 is facing a choice of either pursuing careers or continuing on to graduate school.

For students like Carol Chow, who will graduate in May, the choice has been in favor of the job market. She has accepted an offer at Deloitte Touche, a leading financial services firm, and credits her internship opportunities as a key factor in being able to land a job.

Chow said the internships complimented her studies, provided important teamwork building opportunities and provided hands-on experience. “They allowed me to answer questions of myself and where I was going with my career path, which helped me as I conducted my full-time job search,” she said.

For other students, the option of continuing on to graduate school is more appealing. Bill McCarthy, associate director of the Career Development Center, said the decision is often driven by the economy. “In challenging economic times there tends to be increased interest and applications to graduate school,” he said. “The choice enables the student to acquire skills today in order to enhance their career pursuits tomorrow.”

This is exactly what Lisa Kemmerer is planning to do. Starting this fall, she will begin her studies toward a master of arts in teaching. Like many students, Kemmerer’s decision did not happen overnight. “I took my time making that decision,” she said. “I really wanted to make sure I was doing something that I was passionate about.”

In working with students, McCarthy has noticed a subtle difference in the behavior of this year’s graduating class versus those of recent years. “In comparison to the last couple of years, students are active and are acting less paralyzed by the state of the economy,” he said. “The recent few years of downward recruitment of entry level college hires seem to have leveled off and the students seem to be very aware of this trend and are more hopeful.”

McCarthy said that deciding on a career path really begins the minute a student sets foot on campus. “What an individual student does early in their college education can help them open or close doors of career opportunity down the line,” he said. “A solid academic experience is a great foundation but employers also hope for and want more.”

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Last Updated: 10/14/08