5 Best Tips for Graduate School Students
Becoming a graduate student can feel a little difficult at first. It’s normal to have a somewhat challenging transition. The life of a graduate student is a lot different than that of an undergraduate. You’ll be responsible for more, and you’ll have more on your to-do list.
Here are a couple of ways you can prepare for your first year of graduate school.
1. Learn Your Professor’s Office Hours
Nobody is going to help you more than your professors. However, you’ve got to seek out their help. Otherwise, they’re not going to realize you need the support. Speaking to them during class isn’t always going to work, either. So, you’ll need to visit them during their office hours. If you go see them then, they’ll be much more receptive. Learn all your professors’ office hours during the first week of class. That way, you’ll know them by the time you’re looking for help. Don’t feel shy whenever you’re going to see your professors. They’ve got office hours just for that situation. A lot of students hesitate before visiting their professors. At the end of the semester, that only hurts them. Most of the time, your professors will be able to answer all your questions in just a couple of moments.
2. Start Studying Early and Often
Most undergraduates learn good study strategies. University tends to be much more self-directed than high school, usually. However, it’s nothing compared to what’s in store during grad school. You’ll have fewer hours in the classroom. So, most of your learning will be done at home. You’ve got to develop solid study habits if you’d like to be successful. Waiting until the night before an exam is an easy way to guarantee you’ll fail. Break down all the materials during your first week of courses. Then, start studying them way ahead of time. You could even try to get ahead of your professor. That way, you’ll understand what they’re talking about whenever you’re in class.
3. Take Plenty of Notes While You’re in Class
Just because you’re studying at home doesn’t mean you should skip class without dire reason. Use all your class time wisely. You’ll have a lot less of it while you’re in grad school. So, make sure you’ve always got a notebook and pen. Use them to take lots of notes whenever the professor is speaking. Everything they say is going to be important to your education. Notetaking might be the best skill you can develop to be successful during grad school.
4. Use a Ton of Online Resources
Even a well-read and highly organized student is going to have some difficulty in grad school. That’s why you should look for academic resources online for research papers and dissertations for that extra convenience. Sometimes, you’re not going to be able to ask your professors for help. That’s when you should look for help online. Usually, in online forums for grad students, you’ll find tons of people who’ve had similar issues. Learning from them could help you avoid the same mistakes they’ve made. Or, you could find something that helps a concept click in your mind. Then, everything will feel much easier from there.
5. Create a Study Group With Your Classmates
Most people don’t enjoy studying alone for hours. Spending time with your friends would be a lot more enjoyable. But, you’ve got to put in the hours whenever you’re a grad student. Try forming a study group with some of your classmates to compensate. Studying in a group can make the hours seem to fly by. You’ll be learning as a group instead of individually. Plus, you can hold each other accountable as well. That way, everyone has someone who’s motivating them. Motivating your classmates can also help you motivate yourself. When you’re working as a team, things just feel better. Somebody is bound to know the answer when someone has a question.
Mastering Graduate School for Beginners
Transitioning to grad school will take a little time. Don’t be ashamed if you feel a little overwhelmed at the beginning. That’s totally normal. Just focus on doing what you can, and you’ll feel better in no time. Above all, you’ve got to put in the work to be successful while at grad school.