The University of San Francisco: Learning and Writing Center

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Preparing for Grad School

Graduate school is much different than undergraduate studies. When preparing to take on graduate school it is important to recognize five major differences.

  1. Different Class sizes and Times: Most graduate classes meet only once a week or on weekends. This means work will be done outside of class and the work is a lot more independent. Learning how to connect with peers outside of class or scheduling meetings with the professors during office hours will be really beneficial.
  2. Emphasis on Reading and Writing: Graduate courses have a strong emphasis of reading and writing. Prepare yourself to take a large amount of reading and writing at a time. Create a plan of how much you will read per day or utilize services such as the Writing Center to develop your skills.
  3. Managing Time is Crucial: Classes meeting less and having more independent work, time management is essential. It is important to find a way to balance classes, work, and your personal life that works best for you. Map out your days and time in a way that you will maximize per activity and still have time for yourself. You don't want to overwork yourself or compromise your well-being. So be sure to take some time to sleep.
  4. Advocate for Yourself: At graduate school there are often numerous resources available to students. However, in order to utilize them you have to seek them out. It is okay and very likely that you will need to seek out extra help or guidance with class work, writing, or finances. Be sure to advocate for yourself in order to make the most of your graduate experience.
  5. Take Some "You" Time: Finally, grad school can definitely be overwhelming. Sometimes it is important to take time and enjoy yourself. Network and socialize with other graduate students along the way.