Many students think graduate school is just a bit tougher version of their undergraduate education. Yes, you will still be a student, you will still take classes, and you will still write papers, but there are many big differences between undergraduate and graduate school that you should be aware of. No matter what program you choose, you can expect a huge and challenging commitment with high expectations. Completing a graduate school might be very difficult, and there are things you should know before starting one. If you want to know what you should expect from a grad school, check out these 25 Things You Should Know Before Going To Grad School.
You will read a lot.
If you thought your undergraduate education required too much reading, be prepared for a way bigger load of books. Students of certain grad school programs might be assigned to read up to 100 books per semester.
You will write a lot.
Any precis, essay, and paper will be expected to be longer and more diligent and professional than those you wrote in your undergraduate program.
You will need more time to prepare for exams.
Just like the writing assignments, preparation for grad school exams will also be more demanding and time-consuming.
You will encounter fierce competition.
In grad schools, the percentage of highly ambitious students who always want to be the best is usually higher than it is in undergraduate schools.
Parties will be a bit different in nature.
You will go to parties where people talk about Aristotle, Marx, theory of relativity and other nerdy topics. This is how you Friday night will look like.
You will be expected to be more independent.
In undergraduate schools, students are instructed and given deadlines by professors, but graduate education requires more a independent and self-directed approach.
You will be THE expert.
People will care about what you have to say. As a graduate student, you will be expected to know everything about medicine, history, literature, or whatever major you will study.
You will have to prioritize.
A lot. You are likely to get overwhelmed by all those assignments and requirements from the very first day, so being able to prioritize will be crucial.
You will make connections.
One of important benefits of going to a grad school is the fact you can make valuable connections with other students and also professors that might come in handy in your future career.
You will develop weird habits.
As a grad student, you might struggle to maintain your general sanity (especially during the exam period), which might result in you developing some unusual quirks.
College grades do not matter.
Few graduate schools will be interested in your results and grades from prior college experience.
If this fact surprises you, wait until you see number 7!
You might be jealous of your non-grad school friends.
Your friends outside school will be getting raises, advancing in their careers, buying houses and starting families. You might feel a bit jealous.
You will become specialized.
Grad school is a great opportunity to find a niche or a particular field you want to specialize in. Unlike undergraduate schooling, which gives you a broad education on your major, grad school will expand on what you learned and make you more specialized.
You will need to stay down-to-earth.
Even if you make it through a grad school and earn your degree, you cannot expect big things to happen immediately. The degree will boost your chances of getting a high-paying job, but it cannot guarantee you anything.
You will have a great chance to take on internships.
They might be actually even more important for your future career than the degree itself.
You will be expected to have better grades than you had in undergrad.
It is often said that a C in grad school is like an F in college.
You will leave your comfort zone behind.
Attending lectures, travelling for talks and conferences, tiring field work etc. – all of this is likely to cause you some anxiety and discomfort.
Completion rate is surprisingly low in grad schools.
There are numerous reasons why so many students do not finish their graduate programs – from being offered a good job and being overwhelmed by the workload to health reasons and lack of interest.
There is a good chance you will find your future partner in a grad school.
If you did not find him/her during your previous studies.
The first year is usually the toughest one.
After figuring out all the requirements, you might feel like you are not smart enough for the program. It is normal though. Most grad school students have the same feelings at the beginning of their studies.
You will be more visible.
In undergrad, you were just one of hundreds of students in a major, while in grad school, you will be in a much smaller cohort, which makes you way more visible and noticeable to your classmates and professors.
You will be less involved in campus social life.
Graduate students are usually too busy studying to engage in things they engaged in college.
You will be more grateful for time spent with your loved ones.
As we have mentioned several times, graduate programs are very time-consuming, which will make you appreciate those rare moments when you can be with your family and friends.
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