Graduate school is where you begin to develop your knowledge at a more professional level and concentrate on a specific aspect of a profession. Your Bachelor’s Degree can only prepare you for so much and as 4-year degrees become more popular and accessible, you’re going to need at least a graduate degree to give you the edge in today’s job market. But first, you must make it through the program of your choice. Here are some key things that will help you do just that. These are all based on my experience as a graduate student.
Don’t Wait to Study
Remember those nights you stayed up for hours studying the night before an undergraduate exam? Well, you can’t do that in grad school. In fact, you probably won’t have to take many exams. Your professors will not be looking for which facts you can remember out of a list of options. They want to know how much you know about a topic and how you plan on using that in a future career in that profession. This is much different than just memorizing facts and will need to be outlined in a very developed paper. You actually have to know what you are talking about. Spend weeks, maybe even a month studying, not one night.
If You Have a Question, Ask Right Away
During your undergraduate study, I am sure you have waited until the review session to ask a question about the course material. If you do this in grad school, it will probably end up being too late. It is important that you ask questions as soon as they come to mind. Not doing so may force you to fall behind very quickly. Graduate level material tends to tie together and you have to understand one aspect in order to move on to another.
Your Textbook is Your Best Friend
In the past, you may have been able to pass your exams and papers by just reviewing the lecture notes and skimming the textbook, but this won’t be enough in grad school. As I said before, most of your exams will involve lengthy papers that should go into a great deal of detail about the subject matter. You will want the knowledge your textbooks hold. Read them very careful, highlight important information, and take notes. These will help you as you study and when you begin writing papers. And make sure you follow the outline for when to read each chapter. It will be too difficult to catch up once you are a week or two behind.
Other things to keep in mind during your grad school career is to create a relationship with your professors, form study groups and discussions, actively participate during lectures, and don’t skip class. If your professors are familiar with who you are and can attest to your work ethic, they can be used for references when you begin applying for jobs. Graduate school is the time to really develop your knowledge and gain experience in the field you wish to pursue a career. Make sure you’re always on top of your game!