A graduate or professional student is a student who is pursuing education opportunities beyond an undergraduate (bachelor's) degree. Graduate and professional programs include master's and doctoral programs such as Ph. D., J.D., and M.D., among others.
The life of a graduate or Professional student is very different from that of an undergraduate student. The following link, National Association of Graduate-Professional Students, will help in navigating the rigors of higher education and provide access to several resources.
Financial Resources for Graduates
There are various resources out that can help you assess how to be financially responsible throughout your graduate education. Financial aid can involve federal assistance from the U.S government, scholarships, and non-profit or private organizations. For low-income students who cannot avail of financial support from their parents, financial aid can cover educational expenses including tuition and fees, housing, books and supplies, and transportation. It is important to understand how to navigate loans- which are also an option, but to also explore all types of funding available and make a decision that works best for you. Our resource list provides a unique visual that can walk you through how to apply for financial aid through the U.S government’s FAFSA portal- which can open the door to loans, grants, and scholarships. It also provides a general list of financial resources available to graduate students to help them navigate college in a financially responsible manner.
Resources for Graduates with Disabilities
Resources for Graduate Immigrant Students
Mental Health Resources for Graduates
University campuses can be like mini communities unto themselves. They have recreation centers, dining halls, libraries, computer labs, and much more. But most students are unaware of the wide breadth of services financed by school-related fees. Here are the five campus resources that every graduate student should know and use.
There are also several resources on your university campus which are often overlooked by graduate students:
Universities hire full-time librarians assigned to the major subject areas. These librarians are particularly knowledgeable of rare documents, collections, and uncatalogued resources waiting to be processed. Additionally, they can order books, journals, maps, data, and other resources graduate students may need.
Graduate students, especially in their upper years, tend to dismiss the writing center as a resource reserved for undergraduates. While you may not need to take all your papers there, the writing center is a particularly good place to take your conference abstracts and statements of purpose. The writing specialists are good at identifying jargon and offering suggestions to make your writing pithier and more concise. If you have a longer document like a dissertation, it may be worthwhile to pay a professional copy editor for his or her services.
Many universities provide some sort of gym access to their graduate students, and some public gyms offer student discounts. We know the importance of staying healthy as graduate students, but the gym is one of the least understood resources on campus. Aside from access to the standard equipment, campus gyms offer several services like free group classes and diagnostic tests. For a few extra bucks -- and cheaper than a regular gym -- you may be able to purchase additional services like a professional massage, personal trainer, or specialized fitness classes.
Professional Services: Tax, Legal, and Dental Services
The law school and medical school are other resources that graduate students, should visit more regularly. Many of the aides are students themselves and have a keen eye toward identifying ways for college students to maximize their return, including how to properly claim school related expenses and income from fellowships on your exemption. In some cases, universities may also provide legal services for their students. Finally, medical schools can be equally as valuable for graduate students. While all universities provide some sort of student health services, dental students must accrue a certain number of clinical hours and usually provide basic dental services such as cleanings for free or at a reduced price. Not all universities offer these services, but it is a good idea to inquire as many have established partnerships with independent institutions that offer reduced rates for similar programs.
Mentors for Graduate or Professional Students
There are so many aspects to graduate school to successfully navigate and going through them in isolation only compounds the stress. If you are new to graduate school, it is important to learn from others in your field or one like yours about the challenges ahead and how to navigate them; hence, finding a mentor is important to bridge the gap between academia and practical application of your knowledge. If you are unable to find a mentor in your area, click here to find online mentoring opportunities.
National Crisis Line for Graduate or Professional Students
The National Grad Crisis Line, 1(877)472-3457, helps graduate students reach free, confidential telephone counseling, crisis intervention, suicide prevention, and information and referral services provided by specially trained call-takers. Caring, professional staff and well-trained volunteers answer around the clock.
All counselors have completed training to understand the unique issues faced by graduate students. In addition to listening to and empathizing with a caller’s concerns, counselors assess the caller’s lethality risk, counsel, and offer various local support services and mental health resources for follow-up.