Are You Ready For Grad School? Find Out Now!
For most students thinking about graduate school, there are many unanswered questions about what it takes to get in, what it takes to succeed once there, and whether they will actually enjoy being a graduate student. There is no standard set of circumstances or demands that all Ph.D. students face, and many factors go in to determining the outcomes for any individual. It is impossible to predict how things will turn out if you are accepted into a graduate program. Still, there are certain general requirements that are essential for success in graduate school, regardless of the particular discipline, and you should consider them before whether graduate school is the right choice for you.
You need to consider much more than just your academic suitability, that is, how capable you are of studying hard and mastering new information and skills. You need to consider much more than whether your savings accounts can handle it or if you'll like the campus. You also need to consider whether your personality is right for graduate school.
Test your suitability for graduate school and find out whether its really the right path for you. Ask yourself the essential questions listed below before you make the commitment to apply to graduate school.
1) Are you self-motivated and ambitious?
As a graduate student, you will assume a greater responsibility for directing your education and training than you did as an undergraduate. Success requires a great deal more drive and determination than most people assume before they go through it. Graduate school is a full-time occupation for the vast majority of students working toward a Ph.D -- part-time enrolment is not an option in most good-quality programs. You will not be fed information to learn and remember like in many undergraduate programs. You have to figure out a lot more things on your own. Depending on your field, you might have to do a tremendous amount of reading from scholarly books and journals. The faculty will not be evaluating your acquisition of new knowledge on a frequent or regular basis. That is your responsibility. No one will be checking to make sure you are doing this, so you will need to have self-discipline.
2) Do you have enough self-confidence?
Success in graduate school requires one to rise above the above-average, to achieve and maintain excellence in many areas over a period of years. The challenges in the way of success can be met by many people, but those who have a tendency to shy away from challenges in general are likely to achieve only mediocre success in graduate school, at best. One stereotype that exists for a person with a Ph.D. is that of the absent-minded professor who is rather timid, quiet, and meek. But the reality is that people who are more confident, outgoing, and sociable are more likely to rise to the challenges of graduate school. For instance, one cannot avoid public speaking in graduate school, and it may be a regular aspect of training in some disciplines of study. No matter what your discipline, you will occasionally have to occupy center stage in seminars as well as in more formal situations, such as when presenting your work to an audience of other students and faculty members. You will be expected to speak out in graduate classes to express your ideas and to challenge those of others. Your duties might include giving undergraduate lectures or directing laboratories. You may have to present oral proposals for your thesis or dissertation work before you start, and also present and defend the final work in a public forum after you are done.
3) Are you able to cope with unexpected and disappointing setbacks?
Many paths can lead to a Ph.D., but few if any of them are completely smooth. Along the way, most people experience at least a few bumps. Unanticipated events occur that can bear on the progress of a student’s thesis research, for example. A research project might not unfold as originally planned, or interpersonal relations with ones graduate advisor might prove to be difficult or unpleasant due to factors beyond your control. There will be setbacks and disappointments, but is impossible to know in advance how many or how serious they will be. Just count on there being times when you wonder whether its worth all the time, trouble, and effort to get that degree. Most graduate students will report having such thoughts at least occasionally, and some decide to quit before finishing. Are you the kind who perseveres when things don’t work out as you planned or hoped? Or do you tend to give-up or break-down emotionally when challenged by factors and outcomes you cannot control?
4) Do you have superior communication skills?
Graduate students in all disciplines spend a great deal of time and effort organizing and expressing ideas and facts in ways that reflect clear and original thinking. This is done over and over again in most graduate programs, and it usually involves both written and oral formats. No matter how many other things you have going for you, it is highly likely you will struggle to succeed in graduate school if you have only mediocre writing abilities, or if you are terrible at public speaking. You do not have to be an expert at either one, and a lot of practice and training at both of these skills takes place in graduate school. But, you need to be far better than average at the time of entry into graduate school. In fact, you are unlikely to gain admission to graduate school if you cannot demonstrate superior communication skills in your application.
It would be hard to overemphasize the importance of the foregoing list of character attributes and talents for succeeding in graduate school. Keep in mind that this is only a partial list. We hope this website will help you discover all the other information you need. Come back frequently to read the articles and interviews that are updated monthly, and check out the archives from previous months. If you are already certain that graduate school is in your cards, you will find all sorts of insights and tips on this website that will help you apply successfully to the program that is right for you. If you think you're ready for grad school, find out which online degree suits you best at www.OnlineCollegeDegrees.net You can also find all the information you need in one place – the eBook