Financial Assistance – A Wide Spectrum For Graduate Students

Financial assistance is obtainable in different types to graduate students. Students can also acquire multiple aids or acquire a combination of loans and grants. Considering the available options as financial assistance and the wide spectrum for graduate students is a golden opportunity to make a bright career.

The different types of financial assistance that account as a wide spectrum are:

Grants: Grants are available to students from the government or via other private funding sources. Generally, government grants are issued to low household income students. These grants demand the students to show GPA throughout their career to enable them to receive the financial assistance. Normally, private grants also are available as scholarships, but have certain guidelines and so the amount also varies from one individual to another. The grants given in graduate school can be used for research, projects and travel as well.

Scholarships: Scholarships are awarded depending on the academic excellence. Students receive scholarships on certain factors such as field of study, ethnic background or financial need. The number of years and amount vary in this financial aid as well. However, the amount received as scholarship need not be paid back identical to grants that are not refunded. Scholarships are awarded for merit and talent and many private scholarships are also awarded by companies and organizations.

Fellowships: Fellowships are issued to graduate as well as post graduate students. These also need not be repaid. Private institutions, organizations or government issue fellowships and the amount varies as this is gives as stipend for 1 to 4 years or a tuition fees is waived off. Some schools also facilitate applying for fellowships so that the students are benefited.

Loans: Loans are awarded to students if required, but it has to be repaid. It does not come free as grant or scholarship. Loans are of many types and the interest rates as well as the repayment plans are vary. Banks offer student loans to college students and even private companies offer student loans, but the interest rates are higher.

Maintaining Healthy Relationships With Professors in Graduate School

As undergraduates, students most often interact with professors at a distance during classroom lectures; if professors and undergraduates do interact one on one outside classrooms, they typically do so in brief office visits or elevator conversations. Unlike undergraduate students, graduate students interact with professors much more often. Ideally, graduate students will develop close academic relationships with mentor professors, who can use their higher academic rank and knowledge to help students negotiate their programs, their opportunities for professional development, and the world of academia. Mentorships with professors are very important for the academic success of graduate students, particularly when graduate students write their theses or dissertations. Unfortunately, many factors threaten healthy academic relationships between graduate students and professors.

These factors include
(a) competition within departments,
(b) different perspectives and opinions between students and professors,
(c) professors’ forgetting students’ struggles, and students’ misunderstanding professors’ struggles, and
(d) lack of communication, resistance to change, unclear expectations, and potential prejudices on either side. To avoid any of these issues with potential mentors in graduate school, you can try the following:

Remember that you are the one factor that you can control concerning academic relationships in graduate school. The most important thing you can do to maintain healthy relationships with your professors in graduate school is to improve your sense of self and your self-esteem. You can improve your sense of self and your self-esteem by maintaining a healthy social life with your family members, friends, and partners, by setting goals for yourself and rewarding yourself when you achieve those goals, and by being confident in what you have accomplished and how you can contribute to further academic progress. You can also improve your confidence and sense of self by working on your own communication skills, which will benefit you for your entire academic and professional careers.

If possible, try to find or create academic environments (e.g., classrooms, clubs, meetings, support groups, etc.) that are open to and welcoming of dialogue. You can help create academic environments that facilitate conversation by understanding your professors’ expectations of you, by researching their interests and their classroom and communication styles, and by acknowledging the pressures they face within their own departments. When a good opportunity presents itself, you can also use your improved communication skills to initiate intelligent and informed discussions with your professors.

If you have tried and struggled to improve communication with professors in your department, you can reach out to other sources of academic support, including faculty and professors in other departments as well as other graduate students. Healthy mentorships in graduate school can take many forms. You can improve your chances of maintaining healthy academic relationships in graduate school if you remain open to and positive about potential sources of support.

Networking Tips for Undergrad and Graduate Students

Many reclusive graduate students are terrified of the concept of networking, and desperately seek any networking tips that they can get. Even though they know and understand that networking is crucial to their success as academics, many graduate students avoid opportunities to network with other professionals in their fields, perhaps because they don’t understand what networking is or how to go about it. We can eliminate confusion about, as well as offer you networking tips about what networking is by defining networking as a process of developing a web of professional and academic relationships and contacts that are mutually beneficial to all parties and that can be used to further various types of agendas (e.g., academic, professional, personal, etc.). We would like to emphasize that networking is a constantly evolving process that requires time, effort, and forethought; you cannot network effectively if you only attend one academic function in your entire career as a graduate student. Rather, networking is a process in which you will engage not only in your academic career as a graduate student but also in your postgraduate career as a professional, whether or not that career is in academia. If you are unsure how to go about the process of networking, the following are some networking tips to help you get started:

Learn about people.
Remember people’s names, and Google them to familiarize yourself with their work. Be polite and courteous when you meet someone new, and invest time in developing relationships with people you meet.

Develop your interpersonal communication skills.
Remember to shut up and listen sometimes. Do not interrupt someone when he or she is talking. Learn and practice active listening, and demonstrate that you have actively listened to someone else’s conversation by asking intelligent questions.

Do not expect to get something for nothing. Be willing to give something in return if you have asked someone else for a favor.

Prepare for networking opportunities.
Choose some talking points in advance of networking opportunities. Practice those talking points as well as greetings and farewells, which are often the most difficult parts of conversations. Engage in rituals to calm yourself and to boost your self-esteem (e.g., taking several slow, deep breaths, talking positively to yourself in your mirror, etc.).

These networking tips are sometimes the hard to do because graduate students have very little time; they don’t have the time to reciprocate favors or do additional research on people or companies. Unfortunately you will have to make the time and improve your own time management skills if you want to make the connections that are so critical for success.

What It Means to Be an Online Graduate Student

There are many reasons why someone would choose to pursue an online graduate degree but for many the primary reason is often related to their career. There may be a goal of career advancement, making a career change, or acquiring subject matter knowledge and expertise. Regardless of the reason, an online graduate student will find that an advanced degree requires a different set of skills and expectations. Starting a graduate degree program may be challenging at first – especially if it has been some time since the undergraduate degree was completed; however, knowing the basics will help to make the transition easier and the work more meaningful.

The general expectation of a graduate student is that they have acquired basic academic skills sets from their undergraduate degree and when they start a new class they will know how to look for necessary resources, build working relationships with their instructors, and ask questions when they need assistance. Even if it has been some time since they were in school it is expected that they will be highly motivated to find what they need. In other words, they already know the basic academic process and the learning curve for starting this degree program should be shorter than the last one.

Advanced Academic Skills

One of the first expectations that students learn about is the development of their academic skill sets. Graduate writing requires students to pay meticulous attention to details and that includes spelling, grammar, word choice, and sentence structuring. This also includes formatting of their papers, which for many schools is based upon the APA Manual. Throughout the course of their degree program students may find that some instructors focus on the content of their papers when they are providing feedback and others who look also address the mechanics and overall formatting. In addition, some instructors provide their own interpretation of the formatting guidelines rather than strictly follow the required manual. Whether or not the writing and formatting standards have been strictly enforced or upheld, it is the student’s responsibility to know the proper guidelines and submit well written papers.

Advanced Cognition

It is expected that graduate students will demonstrate advanced cognitive functions and this includes the use of critical thinking skills. This means that all of the information received through the course materials and other readings needs to be carefully processed as they will be asked to do more than recall the knowledge they’ve acquired. Moving into advanced cognition includes analyzing and synthesizing information, problem-solving, and developing new ideas or solutions. A graduate student should be prepared to engage themselves in intellectual discourse, ask meaningful questions, welcome diverse perspectives, and seek out new challenges that allow them to apply what they’ve learned to the real world.

Purposeful Communication

As an online graduate student it is expected that all communication will also demonstrate advanced writing skills and always have a purpose for what is written. With every email sent or discussion posting made, proper tone should be used and the message clearly stated so that it prompts a two-way conversation. All communication with your instructors should exhibit utmost respect at all times and never appear challenging. This requires strict social and emotional intelligence at all times. Learn to ask what you need with a willingness to listen and use their advice and guidance.

Research Focused

This is another aspect of graduate work that takes time and practice to learn and implement. A graduate student needs to move beyond opinion pieces and write well-developed and well-researched discussion question responses and academic papers. When writing academic papers students need to learn to avoid the use of direct quotes as it merely becomes page filler and instead, learn to paraphrase information from their sources (with an in-text citation) to demonstrate they are working with information instead of using it. What is valued the most is the student’s analysis, occasionally supported with research. All of this is a matter of developing an intellectual curiosity to learn more about the subject matter studied, for the purpose of applying it to the student’s professional life, resolving real-world problems, broadening their worldview, developing new ideas, and contributing new thoughts to their chosen field.

Becoming a graduate student brings with it new responsibilities and it will also require a focused mindset. Students must learn to take responsibility for their work and change their perspective about the locus of control. While there may certainly be imperfect course materials and occasionally an instructor who the student does not care for, regardless of the reason, the outcomes they receive with their coursework is in direct relationship to their performance. Graduate work can be challenging but also extremely rewarding as a student is expected to acquire and utilize advanced academic skills. The final outcome is more than the acquisition of a degree. The student will likely be intellectually stronger and more focused, with an ability to use advanced research, writing, and communication skills.