We are midway through the autumn semester, and I have been reflecting on my graduate proseminar course, which is essentially an introduction to graduate school. Some programs have these types of classes, and others do not. So, in this post I give you links to articles I assign and a few tips I give to our first-year graduate students. The articles and tips are designed to tell students those things which faculty generally assume students know, as well as give them suggestions on how to succeed in graduate school. What would you add to my list?
How do I take a graduate class? How do I know what classes to take?
- How to read for Grad School by Miriam E. Sweeney
- Sink or Swim? By Beth Azar
Claire’s Tips for registering for courses:
- Talk with your advisor. Talk with your advisor about which courses you should take each semester. They may have specific courses they want you to take, or they may know about a specific seminar being offered that would teach you a specialized skill or knowledge set.
- Email the professor. You may not be able to tell from the title of a course what the course topic will be. If you see a faculty member is teaching a seminar, email them for a course description and/or syllabus. Even if the syllabus is not ready, they will be able to share with you the topic for the seminar. Then, you can decide whether or not to take the seminar.
- Take seminars when they are offered. Faculty often rarely have the opportunity to teach graduate seminars. Thus, if you are interested in a seminar in a specific topic, such as attachment, it may not be offered again for two or more years. Thus, it is smarter to take the seminar when it is offered and delay a required course, because you may not have the opportunity to take the seminar the following year.
- Make it count. Choose your electives wisely. For example, try to take electives related to your research interests. You may be able to write a paper for these courses that are related to your research interests and will thus lead you closer to a publication or help you prepare for candidacy. Further, if you are planning to do a minor or specialization, you should look for electives that will count towards the requirements for the specialization.
- Explore other departments. HDFS is interdisciplinary, and our students often take coursework outside of the department. If you cannot find an elective you are interested in taking in the HDFS course offerings, you might explore electives in Psychology, Sociology, Economics, or Communication.
- Register for independent studies and thesis credits. Do not forget to register for independent study and thesis credits! By adding these credits to your load, you will free up time from coursework to focus on your research.
- Make sure you take the minimum number of credits needed to be a full-time student.
What is a professional organization? Which ones should I be in? How do I network within an organization? What is a conference and what happens at them? What is a conference presentation? How do I submit to a conference?
- Why Join a Professional Association by Kelly A. Cherwin
- Getting Involved in Professional Organizations: A Gateway to Career Advancement by Daniel Dodgen, Raymond D. Fowler, and Carol Williams-Nickelson
- Getting Ready for Conferences by Mark Sample
- Presenting Your Research by Lindsey L. Cohen, Laurie Greco, and Sarah Martin
- How to Navigate a National Convention by Stephen M. Fiore
- How to get the Most Out of a Conference by Jennifer Thorpe and Todd Ward
- Public Speaking for Psychologists by David B. Feldman and Paul J. Silvia
How do I find funding?
- How to Win a Graduate Fellowship by Michael Kiparsky
- National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program
- Ford Foundation Fellowship Programs
What is a publication? What different kinds are there? How do you decide what journal to submit to? What does peer-review mean? What should I do if I get an email soliciting my work? Are all publications created equally? How do you decide who is an author? How is the authorship order decided?
- A Graduate Student’s Guide to Determining Authorship Credit and Authorship Order by APA Science Student Council
- Publishing Your Research by Alan E. Kazdin
- Publishing in Graduate School: Tips for New Graduate Students by Kris Preacher
- From Finding an Advisor to Creating Hypotheses: The Dos and Don’ts of Beginning a Thesis by Sarah Hovind
- Check out the best journals in your field by impact factor using InCites Journal Citation Reports
What is a grant? What kinds of grants are there for graduate students? Are there scholarships for graduate students?
- In Search of Funding by Laura M. Morett
- “Show me the Money”: Grant Writing Tips for Graduate Students by Katie Edwards and Danielle Probst
- Writing Grant Proposals by Bettina J. Casad
- Grant-Writing Tips for Graduate Students by Lisa Patrick Bentley
What is a CV? What goes on a CV? What does not go on a CV?
- Creating and Maintaining Your CV by Natalie Houston
- Dr. Karen’s Rules of the Academic CV by Karen Kelsky
- How to Build Your C.V. by Karen Kelsky
- The Rhetoric of the CV by Joshua R. Eyler
What is an annual report? What goes in an annual report?
- Writing Annual Reviews by Nels P. Highberg
- Find out if your graduate program has an annual report. What is on it? What should you keep track of? Ask older graduate students to share examples with you so you are not left scrambling at the end of the year.
What is service? How much service, and what kinds, should I do?
- At Your Service by Female Science Professor
- Teaching, Research, Sucker—I Mean—Service By Gene C. Fant Jr.
- Service: A Good Idea for Graduate Students by Sarah Lang (email me for a copy; it is in press and will hopefully be out soon)
How does the advisor/graduate student relationship work? How do I distinguish what I research from my advisor? What should I research?
- Publish and Prosper: A Strategy Guide for Students and Researchers by Nathaniel Lambert Chapter 2: Choose a Topic that Gets You Out of Bed in the Morning
- Publish and Prosper: A Strategy Guide for Students and Researchers by Nathaniel Lambert Chapter 15: The Graduate Student Guide for Being a Great Apprentice, Seeking Mentorship, and Becoming a Mentor
- How to Be a Good Mentee by Tess Neal
- Passion and Strategy: Necessary Ingredients for Choosing a Thesis Topic by Melissa J. Schlechter
- Review http://www.gradsch.osu.edu/appendix-f.html
- Ten Unwritten Rules for Success in Graduate School by Todd B. Kashdan
When and what should I teach? How do I stop teaching from taking over my time?
- Gaining Teaching Experience in Graduate School by Elizabeth Simpson and Krisztina Varga
- Publish and Prosper: A Strategy Guide for Students and Researchers by Nathaniel Lambert Chapter 18: Teach Better in Less Time
- The Best Teaching Resources on the Web by David Gooblar
How do I balance graduate work and my personal life?
- Publish and Prosper: A Strategy Guide for Students and Researchers by Nathaniel Lambert Chapter 10: Feed the Flame: Avoid Burnout
- The Master Jugglers by Chysalis L. Wright
- 4 Tips for Balancing Parenting and Ph.D. by Matt Duvall
What should I spend the majority of my time doing?
- Publish and Prosper: A Strategy Guide for Students and Researchers by Nathaniel Lambert Chapter 3: Set Concrete Production Goals that Will Motivate and Inspire You
- How to Write a Lot by Paul Silva
- Getting Hired: Publications, Postdocs, and the Path to Professorship by Jeffrey M. Valla
- If I Could Turn Back Time by Christina Costanzo Mendat
- Some Modest Advice for Graduate Students by Stephen C. Stearns
- Making It Through Grad School: The Vitae Primer by Garbiela Montell
And finally, 3 books all new graduate students should read:
- The Sense of Style by Steven Pinker
- Publish and Prosper: A Strategy Guide for Students and Researchers by Nathaniel Lambert
- How to Write a Lot by Paul Silva
2 thoughts on “How to Succeed in Graduate School While Really Trying”
Claire! This is Wonderful! What a Great Resource!
I am going to send a link to this post to all of my graduate students— you’ve compiled everything that I *try* to tell them into one easily accessible post. Thank You!
Thank you, Claire! I’ll pass this along to Auburn HDFS students, too. Such important information all in one place!