Back to School: 5 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Grad School

So you are returning to school. This time, you have the wisdom of full-time work experience to optimize your success in returning to school. Or, for those coming straight into one-year programs from undergrad, perhaps you have really fresh ideas of what worked and didn’t with regard to good study habits and outcomes. Here are some tips to help you return to school the right way:

  1. Don’t skip the optional stuff. At Owen, 1-2 pm is the magic time of day where all the extra learning occurs outside of class. From student club meetings (often called “Lunch and Learns”) and career management and alumni sessions, to leadership development, to the Distinguished Speakers Series, chances abound to broaden your knowledge and network. Combined with classes, these opportunities maximize and complete your education. And you can enjoy lunch to fortify yourself for the rest of the day.
  2. Treat your school day like a work day: plan to be at school and working 8-6 Monday-Friday, even if you only have 2 or 3 hours in class. Find a quiet spot in the building where you can be productive. Don’t waste chunks of time; 3 hours lost today means 3 extra hours of work tonight.
  3. The secret formula: 1 class hour = 3 study hours. In grad school, an hour in class should be matched by 3 hours of time outside of class.
  4. Cast a broad net of discovery as early as possible. Attend info sessions and apply to positions you don’t know as much about but that draw your interest.
  5. Treat everyone in your class as your peers whose knowledge in at least one major area exceeds yours. As subject matter experts, how can they mentor you and you mentor them?

Success is earned one day at a time, so make the most of each one.

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