Woohoo! Congrats!! This is the first major step toward your dream. Grad School! You’re off to a new life in a few months. Anxious? Nervous? Excited? It’s normal. We’ve felt that too. Feel it and then let it go! But you’re not done yet. You still have to prep before you arrive at your grad school. Follow these tips to organize for grad school and you’ll be at ease:
- Documents: There’s nothing worse than arriving on campus and finding out that your documents are incomplete or missing. The first document to apply for is your student visa (check out our blog on the VISA process), as soon as you get that admission. Double check to ensure that your student and financial aid forms are complete and on file at your school. To ensure you’re signing up for the right classes, make an appointment with your academic adviser. To confirm that your finances are in order, sign and return all scholarship or loan agreement forms. If possible, also set up your student account with the bursar’s office and make an early tuition payment. Failure to do these on time, could cause some major difficulties before school starts.
- Classmates: Before arriving on campus, find out about your new classmates. Establish relationships with some of them before school starts. The school website may contain information about the admitted class. If not, check with the admissions office to get you in touch with other admits. You could take the initiative to organize a get-together with other students in your area. You’ll feel more at home on the first day.
- Curriculum and professors: Even before you sign up for classes, look into your curriculum and the professors offering the introductory level classes. Research into which professors are better and easier (websites provide information on the distribution of grades given out in previous semesters). Once you sign up for the chosen classes, you’ll likely have access to information on course syllabi and text books. Familiarize yourself with the syllabi and even purchase some of the text books before traveling; it may end up being cheaper. Check out our blog on purchasing text books. If you have trouble finding any of the information, contact the admissions office.
- Involvement: Research ways to get involved outside the classroom such as student government or sports or other campus activities. If you’re interests don’t exist on campus, don’t hesitate to research information for starting your own unique student groups—like cricket, guitar players, or movie watchers’ clubs. Student groups offer a great way to develop personal friendships and advance your professional network, while enjoying your time in a new environment.
- Imagine life after graduation: Time flies. Yes, you are just beginning grad school. However, it’s never too early to consider post grad school life. And before you know it, you’ll be graduating. For this reason, it’s so important to take time now to check out your school’s career development office and learn about the services provided. Review the website, and if you can, set up an appointment to visit the office even before you reach the campus.