How many undergrads in your department want to go to grad school?
Do all of them know what grad school is about?
Are there any students who might benefit greatly from grad school but aren’t even aware of the option?
In biology, typically more students want to go to professional school to become a dentist or a vet or a physical therapist or a dentist or a lawyer. But there will always be a few that want grad school.
Among the relatively few students who want to go grad school, some don’t learn about grad school until they’re applying. These students are deprived the opportunity to gain substantial research experience. That experience can either lead them into a great lab for grad school, or teach them that grad school is not meant for them.
Other students don’t have any specific professional goals, and might be interested in grad school if they knew what it is.
Of course, if you’re looking out for the undergrads in your lab, presumably you’ve had multiple conversations about grad school. But what about the students who don’t end up in anybody’s research lab, because they’ve never been informed?
Undergraduates typically don’t know what happens in grad school. Some students have had exposure to the culture of grad school, perhaps from family, or from working in a lab at a research institution.
It’s our duty to make sure that undergraduates are aware of their professional options early on. However, most departments don’t have any kind of systematic method to inform their majors about the what/how/why of grad school. It’s not the natural followup to an undergrad degree, but students should at least know that it’s an option.
When we talk to our students, it generally blows their mind that they get paid to be grad students rather than pay to be in school. And they get a deferral from any loans from undergrad too!
Does your department make a point to teach all majors about what grad school is? If so, how do you go about it?