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30 Game-Changing Tips for Graduate Students in 2021

If you are reading this article, chances are you are about to start your journey in graduate school. The prospect of earning a graduate degree can be delightful, but there is no denying that it can be awful and even miserable! Now that you have completed your undergraduate degree, you can decide to begin building your career, but you choose the route towards post-secondary education.

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Question is, are you dedicated enough to spend the next few years of your life strictly to excelling in grad school? 

When should I go to Graduate School?

Your bachelor’s degree provided you with the fundamentals of your field, but graduate education will allow you to specialize and gain more advanced learning in your discipline. Having an in-depth understanding and appreciation of your area will help you become an expert among your peers. You can go to graduate school at any age and stage of life. Some students go directly to grad school after completing their college education. But there many who choose to gain experiential knowledge by entering the workforce. Rest assured that your time off of school will not be a hindrance to your graduate school success. Deciding when to enroll in your graduate degree of choice when you think and feel ready. 

Why should I go to Graduate School?

There are plenty of reasons why you should go to graduate school, and here are some of the most significant of reasons:

  • Increase your earning potential 
  • Set your career in motion
  • Contribute to the research in your field of study
  • Follow your passion and pursue your interests in-depth
  • Make life-long professional connections

Why should I NOT go to Graduate School?

  • There are free advanced classes online
  • You are wasting hard-earned money
  • You might end up wasting precious time
  • You will potentially end up with massive debt from student loans
  • Burnout

What should I do before I enter Graduate School?

Sending your application is probably the most important step you need to take before entering graduate school. Apply to a graduate program where you can fully realize your potential in research, academics, and innovation.

Make sure that you have a well-curated portfolio to send out to various admissions officers. The department will evaluate your application, and every program adopts different assessment and evaluation criteria. You must keep your test scores up. Take your Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) seriously. Maintain good grades to earn a competitive GPA and take courses related to your field of study. 

You will need to do thorough research, read more, and pay better attention to your classes than you are used to. It is comparable to having a job where you will need to devote at least 8-10 hours per day to get the necessary grades. Although it is not an easy journey, succeeding in graduate school is not beyond your grasp. 

Another great “Life Hack” Resource article: 50 Life Hacks for Online Graduate Students

As a graduate student, you have the power to control your journey. Success depends on you. Here are the 30 game-changing tips for graduate students like you to help you attain your academic goals.  

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BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.
All the determining factors for success or failure boil down to one simple thing – believing in yourself. Never underestimate the power of putting faith in one’s self. 

SLEEP, EAT AND EXERCISE.
You need to take care of your body because it will affect your performance at school. A healthy body keeps the brain functioning well.

DO NOT BE AFRAID TO MAKE MISTAKES.
Always bear in mind that failure is an integral part of success. No one, regardless of where and what you stand for in life, can reduce their mistakes to zero, especially in graduate school.

MAKE CONNECTIONS AND DEVELOP FRIENDS
Friends are there to celebrate the good times with you and provide the support you need during difficult times. The connections you will make in grad school could also help you in your future endeavors.

FIND GOOD MENTORS.
It is hard to flourish without a mentor. Seek out multiple mentors who will serve as your guide as you navigate your way through grad school, especially in your research.

CONSULT OTHERS.
It is hard to survive grad school on your own; you should know when and how to ask for help. Reach out to your colleagues and professors when you need help!

SEEK OUT FEEDBACK.
Seek out feedback from your peers and professors and use those critiques to improve.

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FOCUS ON LEARNING.
You must have a genuine desire for learning. Students who love to learn have an advantage over those who do not. 

MANAGE YOUR TIME.
If you want to be a successful graduate student, take control of your time. Successful people manage their time well.

PERSEVERE AND WORK HARD.
Hard work and perseverance are essential attitudes of successful people. If you cultivate these mindsets, success is inevitable. 

DO NOT PROCRASTINATE.
Procrastination is an issue for many students, which often leads to failure. If you are given a requirement, do it as soon as possible, carpe diem!

SET GOALS.
Think about the short-term accomplishments you need to achieve for your degree  and long term plans for your future after graduation

READ SMART.
You do not need to read fast. The pace is not the most important factor when studying. You should focus on your ability to understand and retain what you have read.  

STUDY SMART.
There are a variety of study tricks that suits different learning styles. You should know what suits you best and find the study habit that works and stick to it.

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MASTER THE ART OF NOTETAKING.
It can help you process the information easier with more clarity and accuracy. Research has proved that taking down notes helps improve your memory and memory recall. 

IMPROVE YOUR PUBLIC SPEAKING SKILLS.
Graduate school requires a lot of public speaking, such as class presentations, conferences, research proposals, thesis defense, and so on. Your public speaking skills will surely play a vital role in your grad school journey, be sure to enhance them!

ENHANCE YOUR WRITING SKILLS.
Graduate school bombards you with lots of essays and research papers. Your writing skills are crucial if you want to survive your grad school journey.

ASK QUESTIONS!
One significant way to learn is by asking questions. Do not hesitate to ask questions. A curious mind keeps on asking questions!

BE ORGANIZED.
Learning how to stay organized is critical for success. Having effective organizational skills and being consistent with the process will do wonders in your grad school journey.  

UTILIZE YOUR SCHOOL’S RESOURCES.
Take advantage of all the resources that your school has to offer. These services can help you grow academically.

MONEY MATTERS.
Learn how to budget your money for your grad school expenses. Research suggests that money spent wisely has a substantial impact on positive student outcomes.

HAVE A CLEAR SENSE OF PURPOSE.
With a clear sense of purpose, you’ll see how the results of your hard work inspire you to do better. Determine and commit to that purpose!

STRIKE A BALANCE BETWEEN GRAD SCHOOL AND LIFE OUTSIDE.
Grad school should be your priority but don’t forget to live your life outside of it.

DE-STRESS.
Find time to relax and rejuvenate to release stress. Remember, your mental health is just as important as your physical health!

EXPLORE NEW IDEAS.
Learning is a lifelong journey. Continue to explore and search for new concepts and get fresh perspectives.

TRY NEW THINGS.
Trying new things allows you to be creative and get to know yourself better. It also implies that you keep an open mind and welcome change which are two useful characteristics while in graduate school.

CELEBRATE SMALL SUCCESSES.
It is important to acknowledge and celebrate small wins. Appreciating small achievements keeps you motivated to go further towards your next goal

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KEEP YOUR FAMILY IN THE LOOP.
Having a strong support system can spell the difference between success and failure.

BE PATIENT.
There will be A LOT of to-dos on your plate. Accomplish them all with patience. Remember: good things come for those who wait–and work hard!

YOUR CHARACTER IS AN IMPORTANT FACTOR IN YOUR SUCCESS.
Do not compare yourself with others. Create your path and take control of your destiny.