8 Ways to Be a Successful Graduate Student

8 Ways to Be a Successful Graduate Student

Catherine on May 6, 2016

Graduate studies aren’t easy, and they require a lot of commitment and dedication. Check out our tips to help you become the most successful grad student you can be!

1. Manage your time

You might have thought time management was tricky at the undergraduate level, but graduate school takes it to a whole new level. Not only will have you have much more work, you’ll also have to balance your personal life and simultaneously learn the ropes of early adulthood. It’s imperative that you learn how to master time management early on.

2. Find mentors

Your department’s faculty will become advocates for your future career. Set up time with your professors and get to know them. Find one or two who you can support in a research role, and make it a point to establish mentor/mentee relationships in your first year of graduate school.

3. Make your health a priority

If you’re constantly sick or tired, you won’t be able to commit much energy to your graduate studies. Eat right. Exercise. Get enough sleep.

4. Love your field

You’ll be spending at least the next year (and possibly the next six years) studying your intended field. To get the most out of your time in graduate school, learn to love your subject area, if you don’t already. Find friends in your department who are just as willing to chat about Plato or astophysics or civil engineering as you are.

5. Find your niche early

So you’re interested in political science – that’s a broad, broad field. In graduate school, you’ll be required to find a “niche” specialty area. Gain exposure to as many topics as possible in your first year of grad school and identify a research or teaching specialty early on.

6. Get published

Jobs in academia are difficult to come by these days. Make yourself stand out in the job market by publishing and publishing often. You’ll get bonus points if you’re listed as first author.

7. Find balance

You don’t have to be superhuman to be a successful graduate student. Learn to make time for yourself. Take study breaks. Go for walks. Read books for fun.

8. Join professional organizations

Joining a professional organization that relates to your field of interest can help you build a network. These connections can help support you as a student and also as a future graduate. With a membership, you’ll be able to meet people outside of your school’s circle and have the opportunity to attend professional academic conferences.

About the Author:

Catherine Blogger PhotoCatherine supports Magoosh’s future grad school students by unlocking tricks of the test prep and application trade. Catherine spends her free time checking out local farmer’s markets, reading food and lifestyle blogs, and watching Bravo. She is forever in search of the best Mexican and Italian food in any given city.

Photo attributions:
1 – Photo at top courtesy of Flickr user mark m under Creative Commons License 2.0.