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5 Ways to Prepare for Grad School

The year leading up to graduate school admissions will be busy. If you’ve been preparing for graduate school since you started college, you should already be aware of the expectations. Prepared students reap the greatest results, and there are plenty of things to prepare for after you get accepted, too. Here we’ve listed five things to help you prepare for getting into graduate school:

1. Test Prep

No matter how smart you think you are, you will need to prepare for taking tests. You can take online prep courses for your college exams, and, depending on the degree, you may need to take more than one. GRE test prep is perhaps the most essential preparation you could do, especially since you can’t take it every day (and it costs money). The Graduate Record Examination tests verbal and quantitative aptitude. The General Test is required for nearly any graduate degree program, but specialized GRE test prep can also prepare you for getting a score that models your capacity in a specific field.

2. Choose Programs and Professors

Graduate school is about working with people you want to learn from while making experiences and conducting your own research. You should know which field you want to go into since there are specialties within every graduate program. You should find schools which offer the programs you’re interested in (and qualified for); however, understand that many good professors study what you are interested in but under a slightly different classification or field. You should get in touch with professors whose work you are particularly interested in. They may be able to shed some light on any questions, and they may remember you better come admission time.

3. Complete Applications

Graduate applications take a lot of time to complete, and not all deadlines will be the same. In building your applications, you will become at least vaguely aware of things you don’t do (or don’t do often), like community service. When you submit your application, your grades tell part of the story. Letters of recommendation for people you’ve worked with can shift the attention to testimony of your character. You also have plenty of time to update and reformat your resume. Remember, you are telling your story. You control most of the application process and thus, the telling of who you are and what you have to offer.

4. Examine Finances

Graduate school ushers in a whole new era of worrying about how you’ll pay for school and living expenses while in attendance. Fellowships and scholarships are surely the most desirable options, but there are only so many to go around. There are opportunities for being a teaching assistant, and financial aid is a likely option (at least for part of the costs). Finally, there are part-time job opportunities everywhere. These jobs aren’t great deals like fellowships, but if they’re necessary to your process, you should start considering your qualifications for such employment.

5. Do Research

Your research and activities should reflect your ambitions. Universities and professors want students who will make every effort to succeed. They want students with good academics, because, let’s face it, that’s the reason you’re supposed to be there. However, ideal students participate in activities outside the classroom. Reviewing your accomplishments will both impress and humble you, and you can apply these feelings to your new list of goals. You must know what value you provide, and you must aim to keep getting better, keep learning more.

While preparing for graduate school, students should practice making (and accomplishing) goals. These goals go beyond academic or material success. Students should set goals for academics and career, sure. They should also set goals which help them maintain their health and keep stress under control. A degree does little good if it cannot be applied.

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Posts by SpeakBindas Editorial Team.

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