Undergrads see different incentives to continue education at Temple

Bryan DeSilva is currently pursuing a doctorate in vocal teaching. DeSilva decided to stay at Temple for multiple degrees because of its affordable cost. | COURTESY BILL ECKLUND
Bryan DeSilva is currently pursuing a doctorate in vocal teaching. DeSilva decided to stay at Temple for multiple degrees because of its affordable cost. | COURTESY BILL ECKLUND

As many undergraduates start their last year at Temple, they have an important decision to make: Whether to continue their education at the graduate level. If so, an even more important decision arises, determining where they want to study for the next few years.

Colin Saltry continues his education at Beasley School of Law. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Temple. | LUIS FERNANDO RODRIGUEZ / TTN
Colin Saltry continues his education at Beasley School of Law. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Temple. | LUIS FERNANDO RODRIGUEZ / TTN

And though it might make sense for a Temple student to continue at Temple, that option isn’t so black and white, considering the programs and opportunities offered, past experiences, finances and more. But for many students, Temple is the best decision for those very same reasons. The answer, from the perspective of students, is dependent upon the more intricate, personal factors that vary from person to person.

Colin Saltry studied economics as an undergrad, and is now in his first year studying law on Main Campus. For his undergraduate studies, he didn’t think he would end up at Temple at all. Applying to 10 schools, his parents begged him to apply because of the affordable cost.

“It was the best decision I was ever forced into making,” Saltry said.

Four years later, Temple was his top choice out of six other graduate schools, and he attributes his decision to the experiences he’s had here as well as to the opportunities he’s been provided.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to build strong relationships with other people and I continue to nurture those relationships. I’ve already hit the ground running, so I don’t have to start from nothing,” Saltry said.

Being in the same school doesn’t go without change, however. He said he quickly noticed the difference from being an undergraduate to being a graduate student, which he claims is both physically and mentally demanding. He went from being able to avoid reading and picking up discussion during class to now having to read 60 to 70 pages a night, with the chance of being “cold-called” on and expected to know exactly what he’s talking about.

Despite the extensiveness of the law program, he’s very satisfied with his decision.

“I couldn’t be happier. I’m living the dream,” Saltry said.

Bryan DeSilva chose Temple after a year of undergraduate studies at University of the Arts. He continued his education at Temple for his master’s degree in voice performance and is currently enrolled in a doctoral program for vocal teaching.

“The main draw of Temple was that I could get a high-crafted education at an affordable cost,” DeSilva said. “I think that Temple is a great place for people that live in this area or just can’t relocate. So yes, cost is a factor, but I wouldn’t have stayed here if I didn’t think I could learn and that I had exhausted all my connections. I continue to learn new things and find new ways of furthering my career.”

James Short, the director of admissions and recruitment at Boyer College of Music and Dance, finds that the majority of graduate applicants are not already Temple students, and they do not give an advantage to a fellow Temple undergraduates.

This doesn’t surprise DeSilva, who said, “Especially within music, with every subsequent degree, they’re always trying to go up a notch.”

DeSilva believes many people move around because doing so may look better to future employers, but that’s not for him.

Short said he believes it could be attributed to the fact that many want to gain a new perspective from another university, feeling as though they’ve exhausted their options here. But he said the incentive for students to continue at Temple exists, especially within the music program considering it has great connections, including with the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Short also brought up the fact that Temple is the first university to extend a doctoral program to music therapy majors.

“I think it’s the strength of the program. They’re in a school they’re happy with,” Short said. “It might be the opportunity to study with someone else, instead of joining another program where they might be less happy. Or maybe it’s staying in the area if they have roots or family here.”

Patricia Madej can be reached at patricia.madej@temple.edu.

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