Making a Successful Transition to Graduate School

Posted: February 24, 2021 | Author: Grace Thorkelson | Read Time: 3 minutes

Tips for success in graduate schoolAs an undergraduate student, attending graduate school may seem like a distant time, but it will sneak up on you quicker than you likely imagine. Being prepared for when the time comes can help you hit the ground running confidently towards success in your respective program, and future field. There are a variety of aspects of preparing for and balancing graduate school with the rest of your life that can help you succeed.

Prepare for Success in Graduate School

Build a Support System

Support systems look much different from student to student. Whether you’re single or married, close to home or across the country, having a support system that you can rely on when things get tough is critical. Some students’ support systems are a roommate, professor, or their spouse--while others have a large group of acquaintances or family members that they rely on. Staying in touch via text or call, planning a weekly dinner together, and outlining a specific time to spend time together can greatly help.

According to, “no matter the level of organization and focus a graduate student possesses, no one can do it alone. Having a solid support system comprised of family, friends, mentors, classmates, and professors can mean the difference between success and failure.”

Make Time for Self Care

Moving to a new city, leaving behind family and friends, a job, and more, can feel overwhelming. Taking the time for self care and reflection will be important to your sanity and success. Taking time to participate in your favorite activities and passions will help you relax and not lose yourself in this new journey that you are beginning. No matter how busy you may feel, take a few minutes each day to do the things you enjoy.

Reach Out to Your Professors

“Sometimes you won’t understand a concept the first time it’s taught to you and if you’re unwilling to reach out to a professor you won’t learn what you need to,” said Abigail Chapman, a current Master of Public Administration student at Southern Utah University.

Although it may seem daunting to connect with others while in graduate school, it will profoundly help you throughout the course of your program. Professors, mentors, and other students are usually more than happy to impart their knowledge and understanding in an effort to help you be successful. Don’t hesitate to reach out, typically the sooner the better.

Get Informed

Another way students can be prepared to hit the ground running is to get informed. Accredited Schools Online stated, “If you can access textbooks or materials and syllabi, do so before the first day of class to become familiar with your course content. You can even get some of the reading done in advance.” Moving to a new city the day classes begin may be overwhelming and stressful, which students likely want to steer clear of.


Throughout graduate school, you’ll face a variety of difficulties and challenges, but relying on your support system, making time for yourself, reaching out to your professors, and getting informed can be catalysts for your success. Take advantage of all the resources available to you as a graduate student at your university, and reach out for help when you need it.

Produced by SUU Graduate Studies
SUU's Graduate School draws from a prestigious heritage and allows students to pursue a quality education. The master's degree programs offer students the chance to further their professional and educational careers on campus or online.

Tags: Graduate Programs

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