How to Prepare for Grad School (After You’ve Been Accepted!)

Getting ready for graduate school can be a long process: applying to graduate schools, finding graduate degrees, and recovering from your bachelor's degree is a journey.

By: Emily Dexter & Jake Hreha

Getting ready for graduate school can be a long process: applying to graduate schools, finding graduate degrees, and recovering from your bachelor's degree is a journey. That’s why we’ve put together a list of tips to help keep you focused. If you’re considering applying to grad school – or if you’re in the middle of applying – check out our earlier post about what to do before and during the application process.

If you’ve already been accepted to a grad program, congratulations! Here are eight tips to help you stay on course as you count down to the start of your graduate education:

1. Remember your purpose.

Take a moment to remember why you decided to earn a new degree in the first place. Reflect on the accomplishment of getting your undergraduate degree. What’s driving you to succeed in your graduate program? What are you hoping to learn? And what are you anticipating grad school will help you accomplish in the future? Remembering the ‘why’ behind your decision to pursue a master's degree can keep you motivated, both now and later in your program.

2. Express your gratitude!

Send thank-you notes to the people who wrote your letters of recommendation, and thank anyone else who helped you in the application process. Share your gratitude with those who helped you during the undergraduate level become a future graduate student. This simple step can strengthen your connections and help you move forward with a more positive outlook as you pursue your graduate degree.

3. Get organized.

Make a schedule for yourself, and gather any supplies you’ll need to help you succeed once classes start. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can even start letting your body adjust to your new schedule. Try to get into a regular sleep schedule, or get into the rhythm of being productive during the time of day when you plan to study for your classes. Not all graduate students have the same schedule so find what meets your needs.

4. Think practically.

Make sure you have everything in order in terms of your housing, transportation, and finances. Graduate programs can be flexible, but checking off all these boxes now can make the work/school/life balance easier down the road. Keep in mind that once classes start, you’re probably going to be juggling a lot of responsibilities at once.

5. Review your classes’ syllabi.

If you can access your classes’ syllabi ahead of time, you can map out your assignment schedule and even get a head start on reading for class. Remember – grad schools can require more self-discipline and dedication than undergraduate programs.

6. Explore your school’s resources.

What resources are available to you through your institution’s library, or through its website or online portal? (Hint: if you’re studying at IWU, you can find our library database here, and our Student Resources page here.)

7. Set goals.

You know yourself best, so set realistic goals – both for your academic performance, and for other areas of life like your mental health and work/life balance. Make sure you’re taking care of yourself as well as your assignments!

8. Start networking!

It’s not too early to reach out to your fellow students and begin building a support system. Having a community to lean on can make your grad school experience more rewarding and enjoyable.

We hope these tips help you on your journey to your next degree! If you’re considering graduate school and want to explore the options available to you, visit our Programs Page today. IWU offers flexible, student-oriented programs to help you earn your degree without having to put the rest of your life on pause.

Emily Dexter

Copywriting and Marketing Assistant, IWU-National and Global

Emily Dexter is currently a senior at Indiana Wesleyan University, where she majors in English and writing. She is passionate about all things literary, and in her free time enjoys reading good books, attempting new art projects, and exploring the natural world.

Jake Hreha

SEO Copywriter, IWU

Jake Hreha is a graduate of Ball State University, where he majored in advertising with a concentration in media presentation and design. He is passionate about design, and in his free time he enjoys cycling, traveling, and reading.

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