Adapted from Jack C. Schultz (Penn State University) with embellishment by A.K. Knapp (Kansas State University)

Gradate Student Success

  • Is creative and broad-minded
  • Sets clear research and career goals and priorities
  • Acquires the information and skills necessary to achieve those goals
  • Can take the initiative in meeting goals and takes responsibility for meeting goals
  • Becomes productive in the currency needed for meeting career goals
  • Is task-oriented rather than time-oriented (research is a long-term endeavor)
  • Integerates different ideas, concepts, and bodies of knowledge and is willing to learn some of the methods, and at least some of the language of other disciplines so as to think creatively about one’s own subject and be able to collaborate effectively
  • Realizes that it is scholarship and not just credit hours and data collected that earns one a degree
  • Works well with others and in teams
  • Is devoted to excellence in communication at several levels
  • Understands the following quote: “It is never wise to seek prominence in a field whose routine chores do not interest you.” by E. Wingner
  • Understands the competition. There is someone else out there who is as good as you are, wants the same job, and does little else with their time but pursue their goal
  • Recognizes that maintaining enthusiasm, optimism, and dedication towards achieving their goals, along with satisfying the above criteria, provides them with the best opportunity for success

Professional Success

  • Being in your office Monday – Friday from 8 am – 5 pm, or leave a note on your door indicating where you are. This is the minimum number of hours you should be working. View grad school from the prospective of professional development, not as an undergraduate student. There is always something you can be doing, even if you’re “brain-dead.” You can scan the literature, read an edited volume, etc.
  • Set goals and have the self-discipline to enforce deadlines. Even if it means staying late to meet a self-assigned deadline
  • Become a “science nerd” by scanning current articles, periodicals, etc.
  • Collect as much relevant old literature as possible. Some labs provide a copu card for free, so use it!
  • Plan your research and your thesis/dissertation in detail. Make sure it is hypothesis driven. Have proposed chapter titles and a rough outline done ASAP. Fro any research project, sketch the graphs and tables you will produce before you make any measurements. If you know what will be on the x and y axes, you will know what experiments to set up