I am enrolled in a doctoral program in the same university where I got my master’s degree. So for me it is easy to see the overwhelming difference between the two programs.
Doctoral programs are so much more than attending classes, reading textbook, and writing papers! As doctoral students we have so many exciting opportunities for scholarship, leadership, and service. In particular, in an Ed. D. program, we practice teaching and supervision under the guidance of experienced faculty.
I will be honest. Pursuing a doctoral degree is a big commitment. You will have to make some compromises and make your studies your #1 priority for a couple of years.
Also, get your family and friends on board. You will be busy on many evenings and weekends. You will also travel to attend conferences.
Although I am only in my second semester, I feel like I have grown immensely as a professional. Here is some advice based on the lessons I have learned as a doctoral student:
Be flexible and grab opportunities as they come up - scholarships, competitions, research studies, volunteer/job opportunities, committees and network groups, etc.
Extend yourself. You will find out that you can work much harder and achieve more than you have ever thought.
Become involved. As a future educator you have an increased responsibility to be engaged in advocacy and leadership. Serve on the board of professional associations. Share your experience. Provide guidance and mentorship for counselors-in-training.
Reflect on your professional growth. During your enrollment in the doctoral program your counselor professional identity will continue to evolve.
Keep your eyes on the long-term goal. Remember that no matter how intense the program is, it only takes several years. Then everyone has to call you “Dr”. :)
- Laugh and enjoy life. Your time for social life and family will be limited, so plan smart and appreciate every moment.
Maya Georgieva is a counselor with a keen interest in child maltreatment prevention. She is a doctoral student in Counselor Education and Supervision at Marymount University and a volunteer crisis worker.