Surviving the Application Process, then Graduate School
Dealing with Success: If you've gotten in to one of your top choices, congratulations! As soon as you accept
an offer, contact any faculty who have called you from other programs, and let them
know. You may want to wait until you hear from all of your long shots, but you must
make a decision by April 15th.
Dealing with Disappointment: It's possible that you may not be accepted anywhere. If this is the case, you will
want to figure out why. Talk to your advisor and letter writers. You can apply to
the same schools the following year, but make sure that you've strengthened your record
(perhaps by retaking the GRE, or by participating in more research).
The Graduate/Undergraduate Difference: You need to be aware that graduate school is very different than college. The focus
of your coursework shifts from relatively broad to fairly narrow. Your grades become
less important relative to your research projects. The amount and quality of the work
you're expected to perform will increase. High motivation and independent thinking
will be required. Keep your eyes on the ultimate goal, and don't despair or get sidetracked.
Common Stressors: What do graduate students complain about? Low status, poverty, loneliness, competition,
and fear of the future are commonly reported. If you feel these things, you're not
Ways to Deal with Stress: Exercise has been proven to be an important stress reducer. Don't let yourself get
run down. Consider forming a support group with your fellow graduate students - remember
that you're all in the same boat. The friendships you form in graduate school will
be important to you now, and in your later career.