How to Prepare for the First Semester of Grad School

Graduate school is such an exciting step into your career! Graduate school is an amazing experience, and yet when you are first entering into grad school, it can feel like stepping into the unknown. I felt so overwhelmed going into my first day of graduate school. I felt like I didn't know what I was doing- I felt so lost. I was definitely excited, but I felt unprepared! My hope is that the following information will help you feel prepared for your first semester in GRADUATE SCHOOL! 

Here are 6 ways to prepare for your first season in graduate school:

1. Organize your class schedule for the next year

By the end of your first semester in grad school, you need to know what classes you will be taking and when you are taking them. Doing this will help you stay organized and ensure that you are taking all of your classes. I know some students who had to take another semester or two just because they didn't know they had to have a class. Talking to a counselor or academic advisor will help in organizing your schedule. Here is an example of how I organized my own schedule:

2. Communicate with the faculty and professors

Talking with your professor cannot only help clarify any questions you have about the material, but it can also build a professional relationship with the professor. The faculty and staff at the university you attend can be individuals who help you find your first job out of grad school. It is not uncommon that professors either hire a past student or help a student get a job. 

3. Make friends with your classmates

Becoming friends with your classmates not only helps make grad school more fun, but making friends with clients can also start connections with your future co-workers or competition. It helps to have friends who are in a similar industry as you because you can help each other in future business endeavors. 

4. Get used textbooks from previous students

One of my biggest recommendations is to connect with students previously or currently in the program. You can ask these students for help in course content and with textbooks. Students may let you use their old textbooks for free or for a low price. It never hurts to ask! This can save you hundreds of dollars!

5. Schedule study time throughout the week

Especially if you have a difficult time studying for class, I recommend having a set time throughout the week dedicated to studying. For example, on my calendar I would write in hours in which I would study. (Tuesdays 4-6pm and Thursdays 7-9pm). 

6. Ask for help when you need it!

It's easy for us to want to do things on our own, but don't be afraid to ask people for help! You will be surprised with how willing people are to help. 


Grad school can seem intimidating, but my hope is that you feel a little more at ease. This is an exciting time in your life! You can do this! I know you are going to do great things!

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