Around 37 percent of Americans attaining a bachelor’s degree will attend grad school and earn an advanced degree. With more Americans earning degrees than ever before, earning a master’s doctorate or another professional degree can give you a competitive edge over your peers. Tick the following things off your checklist as you prepare for grad school.
Organize Your Paperwork
The first day of grad school is not the time to discover important documents are missing or incomplete. Sort them out now for your peace of mind. Ensure your grad school has your completed student and financial aid forms. Sign and return any loan agreement or scholarship forms. If possible, establish your student account at the bursar’s office and make an early tuition payment. See your academic adviser and check whether there’s anything else you have overlooked. Knowing all these things are in order will help you feel more confident as the first semester approaches.
Research Your Curriculum and Professors
Some early research can also make grad school seem less intimidating. Browse through your syllabi and purchase the textbooks you’ll need. Familiarizing yourself with these books early will help you feel more confident about your advanced studies. Most schools publish student evaluations of professors and courses. These reports can help you make smarter decisions about your electives. Contact your admissions officer if you can’t find them.
Find Somewhere to Stay
While it might seem like an obvious item for your checklist, it’s one that shouldn’t be overlooked. Some graduate schools don’t have student housing. Some students feel their days of dorm living should be well behind them. Consider what you want and what you can afford. If your budget is tight, start your roommate search now.
Get a Job
If you’re not already working, you should be. A job will help you afford everything from your grad school accommodation to your textbooks. It will also prepare you for your career ahead by teaching you how to problem solve, work with others as part of a team, deliver good customer service, and more.
While jobs in your field, including internships, are advantageous, any work experience looks good on your resume, so don’t be afraid to look outside the box. Working as a summer camp counselor or bussing tables at a local restaurant is still beneficial. If your job is near your grad school, see whether you can still work part-time hours during the semester. Otherwise, a summer job might suit you best.
Set Clear, Achievable Goals
Too many students dive into grad school simply because they aren’t sure what else to do. Rather than traveling aimlessly through your education, setting clear and achievable goals should be part of your grad school preparation. This process will help give you purpose, focus your energy where it’s required, improve your motivation, and more.
Why are you attending grad school, what do you hope to achieve during your studies, and where do you want to end up after graduation? Answering these questions will help you set clear goals.
Preparing for grad school can be daunting, but methodically working through a checklist can help you transition from college with confidence.