10 Graduate School Tips
Success at graduate school is not guaranteed, so it is important to be prepared with these 10 graduate school tips. Following the guidelines below will increase your chances of coming away from graduate school with a degree in hand, which is your ultimate goal. Graduate school is a fun and rewarding way to further your education and enhance your career prospects.
- Select the right course of study. You know that when you agree to go to graduate school you are more than likely making a lifetime commitment to a particular field. Be sure what you intend to study is not a passing fancy, but something you have a genuine interest in devoting a career to.
- Select the right graduate school. Different schools have expertise in different areas of study, even within the same general field. Research the schools you are interested in to be sure your desired course of study is offered and the school is known to have a good program.
- Select the right advisor. Your advisor plays a tremendous role in shaping the early part of your career. Study the research of professors at the graduate school you are attending or are interested in. Select an advisor known for his work in the area you intend to pursue. Try to meet with this professor several times before he officially becomes your advisor to ensure compatibility.
- Think about finances before you start graduate school. Graduate school is an expensive, multi-year commitment. Sources of funds include student loans, personal savings and work as a graduate student. Consider the price of your education and compare it against the amount you expect to bring to the table as a student to ensure you will be able to meet your financial commitments throughout the entire course of graduate school.
- Study hard. No list of graduate school tips would be complete without mentioning that graduate school requires study. Prepare yourself for the discipline required to study when you do not want to.
- Publish while you are in graduate school. Landing a job after graduate school is difficult. Increase your chances by publishing (jointly with your advisor, if possible) several papers before your finish your thesis. A solid record of publishing sets you apart from the rest of the competition.
- Study early for the Ph.D. qualifying exams. Most graduate school programs require you to pass qualifying exams before you are officially admitted to the research portion of the Ph.D. program. If you do not pass these qualifying exams, you can be thrown out of school, which is a terrible outcome after two years of study. Study early and get help with anything you do not understand.
- Network with other students, faculty and professionals in the field. The more quickly you become well-known in your field of study, the better you job prospects. Network extensively to keep up contacts.
- Begin to scout job prospects early. In most fields, the best jobs are extremely competitive. Scope out what job you desire early to get a head start. Be it teaching or researching, post-graduate jobs are challenging to get. Network at the facility or institution you want to end up at to get one step ahead of the competition.
- Have fun! After graduating, your life will be filled with researching, teaching and preparing papers to publish. Life after graduate school can be grueling, so be sure to set aside some time during graduate school to have some fun.
Graduate school is a fun, but difficult, time of life. Study hard, publish and consistently network in order to increase your chances of landing a successful job post-graduate school. Follow the above 10 graduate school tips and you will succeed.