9 Tips for Surviving Grad School

There is something of a culture shock that occurs when students finish college and go on to grad school. In college it is often possible for an individual to cram the night before a big test or assignment and get good grades while still having lots of time for fun. Graduate school, on the other hand, requires a student to basically begin a full-time job. They are constantly challenged and asked to undertake more than they would have ever thought was possible during their college years. Because of this, a lot of students find it difficult to make it successfully through grad school. Here are 9 tips for surviving grad school:

  1. Understand your work habits. There is simply no way around the fact that being successful in graduate school takes a lot of hard work. Everyone has times when they are generally more productive and times when it is all but impossible for them to get anything done. Understanding when these times occur for a particular individual will help them to find greater success and achieve their goals in grad school. More than likely this will mean rearranging some aspects of one's life, but it will definitely make the entire experience much more pleasant.
  2. Spend less time focusing on grades. A lot of students that make their way into grad school have spent their college years obsessing about every great that they get. While it is still important to try and get good grades in graduate school, is even more important for a person to understand what they are learning and retain that information for later. Simply studying as hard as possible so that the next exam can be aced may not necessarily help a person hold onto the information that they are learning.
  3. Learn how to read. Obviously, every person that makes it into graduate school knows how to read. Unfortunately, they may not necessarily know the best way to read. There are likely to be stacks of books, papers, and assignments that a person will have to go through during their graduate school career. Simply speed-reading through every single word is not necessarily the best way to get the most out of the information provided. It is just as important for student to understand how what they are reading fits into what they are being taught.
  4. Get perspective from someone with experience. The sheer volume of work involved in graduate school can be overwhelming in and of itself. While there may be no shortcuts when it comes to grad school, it is a good idea for a graduate student to talk to more advanced individuals or junior faculty members. They can be a wealth of information while providing some much-needed perspective on the information that is being provided.
  5. Time management is a crucial skill that every graduate student must learn. There is no one single way to effectively manage one's time, but it is crucial for a graduate student to learn how to make the most of the time they have without getting completely lost in a sea of schoolwork. A student can easily find themselves spending all of their free time working on a single paper while neglecting other tasks that may be waiting in the wings. This leads to panic and frustration as the student tries to cram the rest of their work into the time remaining. Figuring out a realistic schedule can go a long way towards a successful graduate school experience.
  6. Look at grad school as a means to an end. Finishing graduate school does not necessarily make a person an expert in the field that they have chosen to pursue a career in. In fact, many professors advise students to think of grad school at something that provides them with the minimum amount of knowledge that they will need in order to get started in the right direction when it comes to their career. It can be easy for student to lose their perspective and focus only on grad school but it is crucial for an individual to realize that this is just one step on the road to their future.
  7. Picking a thesis can be a frustrating and exhausting task, which is why it is a good idea for student start thinking about their thesis subject as early as possible. A good way to handle this is to keep track of any subject that a student finds interesting so that by the time they need to start seriously considering a thesis subject they will have plenty to choose from. Another thing for a student to keep in mind is that it is not necessary to find a revolutionary thesis subject. Focusing only on subjects that are earth shattering or cutting-edge can make finding a thesis subject an all but impossible task.
  8. Learn how to write successfully. Just as there is an abundance of reading required during graduate school, there are also mountains of papers that every grad student will have to write. Learning how to write successfully involves pacing oneself and learning tricks to overcome writers block. It may seem counterintuitive to get up and walk away from a paper in order to go for a stroll or clear one's mind, but it is a much more productive way of handling writing issues than to sit down and stare at a blank piece of paper or computer screen for hours on end.
  9. Finally, perhaps the most important thing that any graduate student can do is make sure that they have a life outside of their schoolwork. It may feel at times like it is impossible to do anything other than eat, breathe, and sleep graduate school. It is vital for a student to maintain their outside interests and connections with friends and family in order to avoid getting lost in the responsibilities and obligations of graduate school. This will also mean keeping one's family up-to-date on what has been going on and asking for help or support when it is needed.
Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT Clear All

    See More


    See More



    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Searching Searching ...

            Matching School Ads

            American University’s Kogod School of Business has been educating business leaders since opening its doors in 1955 as Washington D.C.’s first university-level school of business. Faculty members are scholars who are dedicated to fostering collaborative learning environments.

            • Online Courses
            • Full Sail’s curriculum combines elements of creativity, art, business and life skills, technical prowess, and academic achievement.
            • Full Sail offers accelerated programs, so a degree that would normally take four years takes 24 months on average.
            • Students work with industry-standard tools and technologies, allowing them to gain practical knowledge and real-world experience.
            • Join us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram to interact with our community, read about grad success, and see campus images.
            • Online Courses
            • Has students attend one four-week class at a time and take their final exam before moving on to their next class.
            • Offers 24/7 online tech support, with a typical response time of 4 hours or less.
            • Has online help centers that offer assistance with writing, statistics, medical assisting, and more.
            • Provides job placement assistance to all its students and alumni.
            • Researches trends for growing fields to tailor a more effective curriculum.
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            • RC believes that true learning takes place in a setting that values the individual
            • NEASC accredited with a catholic-centered education & Weston, MA campus
            • 44% of the Class of 2016 secured full-time professional employment at graduation
            • Over 90 percent of undergraduates receive some form of financial assistance
            • 40 percent of degree-seeking undergrads are first-generation college students
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            • Ranked #1 on the list of Best Regional Universities in the North in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Ranked #1 on the list of Best Value Schools in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Ranked #3 on the list of Best Undergraduate Teaching Schools in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • A Roman Catholic Institution of higher learning founded by the Order of Saint Augustine in 1842.
            • Provides a rigorous academic experience, rooted in the liberal arts.
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            • A celebrated educational institution focused on chiropractic & health sciences
            • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by U.S. News & World Report
            • Logan U is HLC & CCE accredited with a beautiful campus just outside St. Louis, MO
            • Offers bachelor’s & master’s degrees & an exciting doctor of chiropractic degree
            • Special 3+3 Program can shorten time it takes to become a doctor of chiropractic
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            • Christian-based business program. 15+ specialization options. ACBSP accredited.
            • 60+ undergraduate & graduate degree options in Liberty School of Business.
            • 2014 Best for Vets Business School by Military Times.
            • MBA program ranked Best Buy Online MBA Regional Program by GetEducated.com.
            Show more [+]
            • Accredited
            • Online Courses
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            • USM is a renown four-year Catholic liberal arts university founded in 1923
            • Received a 2017 Best Value School Award by University Research & Review
            • USM's 11:1 student-teacher ratio is one of the best in the nation
            • The Princeton Review named USM a “Best Midwestern College” every year since 2005
            • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission & with programmatic accreditations
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            Good for Working Adults
            • Ranked among the 2015 Best National Universities by U.S. News & World Report.
            • Designated as a Military Friendly School every year since 2012 by Victory Media.
            • Offers credit for prior learning and experience through assessment tests.
            • Provides a short term Leadership Certification program in partnership with EQUIP®.
            • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA).
            Show more [+]
            • Accredited
            • Online Courses
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            • Designated a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media for the 4th consecutive year.
            • Listed on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in 2013, for the sixth consecutive year.
            • Links students to hundreds of training opportunities ( beyond their traditional internships and practicum) at their many “partner agencies” in each of their local communities. 
            • Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
            Show more [+]
            • Financial Aid