Essential Items to Have as a Grad Student

Gone are the days of sleeping late, partying early, and attending only half of your classes.

You are now a graduate student and the expectations are just a bit higher. It’s time to step up your game and be prepared in every manner speaking. So why not ensure you have all the essential items you need to succeed in grad school with you at all times.

Purchase a Lightweight Laptop

Do you want to show up to class taking notes in a notebook or a monster of a laptop? Bite the bullet and get yourself a super lightweight, easy to transport laptop or tablet hybrid. Make sure you can type on it easily and it gets good battery life. This is the single most important tool you can invest in that will help you stay organized and on top of your work throughout your grad school experience. Plus you’ll just look cooler and more in the know if you take the time to research this purchase and make a great investment. Visit PC World for reviews and comparisons.

It’s all in the Bag

Once you have your laptop purchased, find yourself a great bag. Look for something that suits your personality while at the same time presents a professional image. Take time with this purchase and check out different bags. Find one you love that also has the right amount of compartments and space to help keep you organized. You want to be able to access whatever you are looking for quickly.

Yes, You Need Business Cards

You are going back to graduate school to become a professional. One of the most significant things you can gain during the experience is an enhanced network of friends in your field of interest. Take advantage of your time there and be sure to let people know who you are. You can get business cards in a lot of places but probably the easiest and least expensive route for professional looking cards is VistaPrint. Take the time before you begin class, to put your details together in one of their great business card templates. Make sure you have a strong and professional email address for this purpose.

Other Tech Gadgets

You will find it invaluable to have with you an ipod, headphones and a USB stick. Music during downtime, or to block out unwanted noise while studying is great, but you can also use it to listen to audiocasts regarding all kinds of subject matter. If your phone works just as well as an ipod, save the room in your bag, but don’t forget about the headphones. A USB stick will be incredibly helpful in sharing files, notes and assignments with your classmates. Buy some that are inexpensive and have a few handy at all times that you won’t mind lending out. Try to get the ones with attached covers so you never have to worry about losing that part of it.

Band-Aids, Cough Drops & Advil Oh My!

Chances are that you, or one of your classmates, will require these items at some point in the upcoming semesters. There is nothing worse than having to sit through a long class with a pounding headache or persistent cough or having to go out of your way to find a band-aid. Aside from your own well being, this is an opportunity to be prepared. Be the person that people go to if they need help. It’s just one more way to build up your network of friends and acquaintances.

A Water Bottle…and Not the Kind That Ends up in Landfills

It is a given that your time in grad school will be incredibly busy and very stressful. Throughout the experience, it’s important to make sure you take care of yourself. One of the easiest and best ways of doing this is to stay hydrated. Most of us don’t drink nearly enough water and this is worsened by stress and busy schedules. Make a point to have a refillable water bottle with you at all times and stay hydrated so you can be at your best throughout the day.

Source: https://www.gradschools.com/get-informed/surviving-graduate-school/life-during-graduate-school/whats-your-bag-essential-items

 

Traveling During Grad School

If you’re a grad student, it’s easy to come up with reasons not to travel.

It costs a lot (and you’re low on funds). It takes time (and you have a thesis to write). If you’re a teaching or research assistant, it requires time off from work (and your supervisor might not approve). But in spite of these obstacles, there are distinct benefits to traveling while you’re still in graduate school. Here’s why you should make the effort.

You’ll make useful connections

When you’re getting an advanced degree, it can feel like you’ll be in school forever. But believe it or not, the day will come when you’re sprung from the warm embrace of academia and will need to find a place for yourself in the thrilling world of work. And when that happens, it is really, really helpful to have a wide-flung network of people who are willing to help you make connections and set you up with relevant opportunities. How to build this network? Go on wide-flung adventures and build a network of like-minded people all over the world. Just don’t forget to follow up with them on LinkedIn or other social media networks in order to maintain those connections after arriving back home.

You’ll learn valuable skills

In today’s globalized economy, employers are looking for workers who are capable of making cross-cultural connections and keeping the big picture in mind at all times. Traveling is a great way to expand these abilities while building on other employable skills such as creative thinking, adaptability and problem solving, the ability to work independently, a willingness to embrace risks, and/or speaking a foreign language. Traveling while in school has also been shown to improve learning outcomes overall.

You’ll gain real-world perspective

Time spent in the field—either as part of a formal education experience or independent travel—can expose you to different research methodologies, help you uncover new interests that may inform your personal and professional goals moving forward, and provide you with real-world context for your chosen field of study. It’s one thing to study the impact of European colonialism in Quito, Ecuador or apartheid in Johannesburg, South Africa; it’s quite another to witness the long-term ramifications with your own two eyes.

You’ll master the art of self-presentation

Remember those connections we referenced above? Making them provides an awesome opportunity to get comfortable telling other people what you do and what you’re all about. Traveling to academic or industry conferences is a particularly great way to practice these professional conversations. Not only can you try out your elevator speech, but you can do so with colleagues and experts in your chosen field. (Do it politely enough, and they might even be willing to give you a few pointers.) By the time you get to your first job interview, talking about your professional achievements will feel like a piece of cake.

You’ll relieve stress

The life of a grad student is packed with all kinds of stressors, from worrying about grades and dissertation reviews to fretting over your employment prospects come graduation. Traveling presents a great way to escape from these stresses and gain some much-needed rejuvenation so that you’re able to avoid burnout and finish your degree with your health—and future prospects—still fully intact. Whether you’re traveling to Miami or Moscow, try to build in time for some quality R&R.

In addition to the benefits listed above, there’s some evidence that traveling as a student is so beneficial it may even predict higher grades in school and higher incomes later in life. Regardless of whether you ever uncover a direct correlation between your adventures and your pay grade, it’s clear that traveling is a great way to promote your long-term personal and professional success.

 

Source: https://www.hipmunk.com/tailwind/why-you-should-still-be-traveling-in-grad-school/

Undergrad vs. Grad School

Many students begin graduate school believing that it’s basically an overgrown version of their undergraduate education.

However, there are some big differences between college and graduate school. Being aware of the changes you’ll be expected to make can help the transition to graduate school feel less daunting. Here are seven of the biggest differences between life as a college student and life as a grad student.

1. In Grad school, you’ll spend (a lot) more time on each individual course

It’s not uncommon for undergraduate students to take 5 or 6 classes a semester in college. In graduate school, five classes would be nigh impossible. A full course load is generally 3 courses – and for good reason. Each graduate class will require a lot of reading, more than you ever thought possible in college – and more than might actually be possible in a week. You’ll have to learn to prioritize the most important readings and actively skim the rest.

Moreover, the structure of the courses will be different. There are virtually no lecture classes in graduate school; all or nearly all of your classes will be small seminars with 15-20 students or less. Even as few as 2-5 students in a class is not uncommon. You’ll be expected to be prepared for seminars and to speak up and participate in the intellectual conversation. Your professors will be interested in hearing your insights. Higher quality is expected from your papers, presentations, and group projects. You’ll devote much more time to each class than you did in college.

2. You’ll develop a laser focus on your topic of interest

Undergraduate education is primarily about breadth. In graduate school, your education will be focused on developing depth in a particular subject area. Coursework in graduate school is designed to help prepare you for your comprehensive exams and for writing a dissertation. Develop a clear idea of what you want to study before you start graduate school, because you won’t have the same freedom to explore different disciplines as you did in college.

This is good news for anyone who knows exactly what they want to study and is ready to polish their knowledge in that field (which – at least theoretically – should be everyone in grad school). You’ll spend a great deal of time reading deeply within your field and participating in high-level discussions with scholars in your area.

The caveat, of course, is that this is not the time to explore brand-new avenues. While there is some flexibility and plenty of room to grow in grad school, for the most part your job is to specialize and become an expert within a specific field. You’ll want to build upon the knowledge you’ve gained in college.

3. You’re expected to be(come) independent

In college, you were likely shepherded through the process of selecting a major and a class schedule. Graduate programs expect you to be much more independent – both in selecting your classes and in directing your research program.

Your classes themselves will also be more self-directed. While many undergraduate professors provide constant deadlines for big projects (e.g., by asking you to turn in a topic and an outline before turning in a final research paper), most seminar classes in graduate school will simply set a single deadline for the final paper. Moreover, that final paper may be your only ‘official’ assignment for the entire semester.

It’s your job to pace yourself and figure out what internal deadlines you need to set in order to get all your work done without overwhelming yourself into uselessness.

In research, too, you’ll be expected to be more independent. While you will get more guidance toward the beginning of your program, by the end of your first year you will be expected to have some fresh ideas about potential research or scholarly projects with potential to contribute knowledge to your field.

4. You’ll be judged by completely different standards

In college, the most important thing was performance in your classes. If you did well in classes, you received good grades, and you were considered a “good student.” In graduate school, classes are just the beginning – and frankly, one of the least important aspects of your program. Good grades are commonplace and expected. You’ll come to understand the oft-noted phenomenon whereby a “C in grad school is like an F in college.”

You’ll also be expected to get involved in research and/or scholarship early on in your program. The quality of your ideas and your research will be a far bigger part of how your advisor and other professors perceive you within the program than your performance in classes.

5. You’re highly visible

Even at a small college, you might have been one of a hundred other students in your major, while at large universities there are thousands of students in every department. It’s important to remember that unlike in college, you can’t just fade into the background if you want to succeed in graduate school and beyond.

In graduate school, you’re part of a much smaller cohort within your department, and as a result you’ll be much more ‘visible’ to your peers and faculty. The faculty in your department will form opinions about you based on the way you act, think, and speak in classes and at departmental events and meetings.

This is good – and necessary! These same faculty members become part of your network and you’ll want them on your side down the road when a hiring committee calls them for their opinion. You also want to be at the forefront of their mind just in case the perfect job for you crosses their desk or email inbox.

6. You’ll be more involved with your department and less involved with the rest of the university

Many college undergraduates become highly engaged with the life of their campus – joining campus groups, cheering the football team on Saturdays and hanging out at campus hotspots. While some graduate students are more active than others, in general graduate students are less involved in the social life of the campus and more involved in their department as the hub of their experience in graduate school.

Most of the people you interact with on a daily basis will be other students and faculty members within your department, to the point where you may find yourself completely unfamiliar with faculty and practices in other departments at the same school.

Graduate student organizations do exist, but typically they meet less frequently and tend to focus on different things than typical undergraduate social clubs. And while some graduate students live on campus, most will live outside the campus ecosystem. In any case, the halls of your department will quickly become your home on campus, for better or worse.

7. In graduate school, everyone wants to be there

Compared to college, the biggest difference in graduate school is that everyone wants to be there. Many graduate students think of their schoolwork as their job (and chances are, it is or will be) and this difference in mindset changes everything.

Your peers will stimulate and challenge you, and they won’t come to class in their pajamas. Faculty within your department will actually be interested in what you have to say. And because of this fundamental dynamic, you’ll learn more and discover that you have more to offer than you might previously have imagined.

This point should also be something that you think hard about before you decide to attend grad school: are you sure it’s what you want to do? If not, there’s no rush: wait until you know exactly what you want to study and make sure you can confidently answer the question, “Why do I want to go to grad school?” If it’s where you want to be, you’ll find yourself in good company.

In the end, graduate school is a completely different animal from undergraduate college. From studying to socializing, you’re entering a new world. But if you choose to go to grad school to study something you’re passionate about, you’ll likely find it much more rewarding than college.

 

Source: http://www.inquiriesjournal.com/blog/posts/161/7-big-differences-college-graduate-school/

 

Important Things to Know Before Starting Grad School

There are always things that students wish they had known before entering a program.

Graduate school is both an incredibly challenging and rewarding time in a person’s life. As with any challenge you take on, it’s wise to be prepared. Oftentimes, some of the best people to help you along the way are the ones who’ve already been through the process.

What is troubling, however, is how little information young adults know about what is involved in earning a graduate degree that can be expensive and a huge time commitment. No one should pursue a graduate degree without a lot of research and soul searching.

Here are some of the things you should know about grad school before you forge ahead:

1. Don’t be in a hurry

There’s rarely a good reason to go to grad school immediately after earning a bachelor’s degree, observes Andrew Roberts, an associate professor of political science at Northwestern University and the author of a fabulous book, The Thinking Student’s Guide to College: 75 Tips for Getting a Better Education. The book is primarily focused on undergrads, but it does contain advice on graduate school issues. Roberts says that it’s hard for students to know if grad school is the best option until they’ve been in the workforce for a while.

2. Don’t make grad school your default move

Students often enter grad schools without knowing much about the eventual careers to which a graduate degree could lead. The worst thing young adults can do is go to graduate school because they aren’t sure what else to do or they can’t find jobs. Grad school, after all, is often an extremely long commitment. A Ph.D., for example, can take six years.

3. Don’t expect to get a job as a professor

Even if you do survive grad school, the job market for Ph.D.’s in academia is lousy. Fabio Rojas, an associate professor of sociology at Indiana University, summed it up in one of the many blog posts that he’s written about graduate school life over the years at orgtheory.net.

Here’s one of Rojas’ observations:

The job search process is harrowing for academics…there is little guarantee that persons completing their terminal degree will land a job teaching and doing research in their area. At a top medical school, the question is if you will get the residency of your choice. At a top graduate program, it’s often doubtful that someone will be offered a job at all.

4. Life in the Ivory Tower can be a grind

Grad programs are hard work and require much more challenging coursework. Roberts notes in his book that “the course material now becomes, to a considerable extent, technical, insider reading—that is, dense, abtruse, jargon-filled works polished in academic journals and by university presses. …You will not be tempted to recommend your reading lists to friends outside your field.”

Fabio warns about “toxic” grad programs where departments provide no support for students and seem happy to pit students against each other. He describes the most common grad program as one guilty of “benign neglect.” A few good students get support from professors, but most don’t.

5. Ask intelligent questions

If none of this dissuades you, here are some questions that William Pannapacker, an associate English professor at Hope College, in a column in The Chronicle of Higher Education, suggested would-be graduate students ask before selecting a program:

  1. What kind of financial support can a student expect to receive during the entire course of the program?
  2. How much educational debt do graduates leave with?
  3. How many discussion sections and courses are graduate students required to teach in order to receive a stipend each year?
  4. What is the average annual teaching load for graduate students?
  5. How many years does it typically take to graduate?
  6. How long are graduates on the academic job market?
  7. Where is every graduate employed in academe and in what positions: tenure track, visiting, adjunct?
  8. Where are graduates working, if not in academia?
  9. Does the program lead to appealing career paths outside of academe?
  10. What percentage of students earn doctorates?
  11. How many earn master’s degrees?
  12. What reason do students drop out?

 

Source: https://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/the-college-solution/2011/06/28/5-things-you-need-to-know-about-graduate-school

Finding Housing in Cookeville

If you’re from out of town, it’s important to explore all of your housing options before deciding on a place to live.

Luckily, Cookeville is a really cheap place to find housing. According to this site, Cookeville’s cost of living is decently lower than the U.S. average. In addition, Cookeville’s housing costs are even lower, with an average of $526 rent for a 1-bedroom apartment. But it’s important to know what will suit you best.

On-Campus Housing

Some students choose to stay on-campus due to the convenience of location, safety, and low-maintenance upkeep. Alcohol and smoking are prohibited, and students who choose to stay over semester breaks can make special housing arrangements with an additional daily charge.

Residence Halls

Tennessee Tech has on-campus residence halls  with semester rates ranging from $2,525 for a 1 person room in a traditional hall to $4,795 for a double room as a single room buyout in the new halls.

Tech Village Apartments

Students can also choose to live in a Tech Village Apartment, which is designed to feel more like an apartment and less like a dorm room. The rates are also a bit cheaper than the residence halls, ranging from $1,370 for a two-bedroom split between 4 people to $5,480 for a two-bedroom for one person.

Finding Housing Off-Campus

Many students choose to live in apartments or houses off-campus due to the high availability of affordable options. It’s important to figure out what kind of place you’re looking for by determining your preferences:

  • Price range
  • Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Proximity to campus
  • Pets/no pets
  • Smoking/non-smoking
  • Utilities included/not included in rent
  • Washer/Dryer hookups or laundry service availability
  • Roommates/no roommates
  • Furnished/unfurnished
  • Wi-fi/internet availability
  • Other preferences

The following are some resources available for Cookeville housing:

http://www.homes.com/rentals/cookeville-tn/

https://cookeville.craigslist.org/search/apa

https://www.trulia.com/for_rent/Cookeville,TN/

http://www.rentalguide.net/Rentals/TN/City/Cookeville/Listings.html

https://hotpads.com/cookeville-tn/houses-for-rent

https://www.apartments.com/cookeville-tn/

http://www.homesandland.com/For-Rent/Cookeville,TN/

https://www.rentjungle.com/cookeville-tn-apartments-and-houses-for-rent/

 

Coming to Cookeville

 

What Makes Cookeville Great?

Many students find that after graduating from Tennessee Tech University, they want to stay in the area. But while it’s understandable to anyone who has lived here, an outsider may not understand what makes Cookeville such a great place to live. Below are just a few of the reasons.

A Variety of Landscapes

Cookeville Tennessee area is known as the Highland Rim area and Hub of the Cumberlands.  Anyone with a car can drive about fifteen to twenty minutes up the Plateau to Monterey, TN and Crossville, TN. Here there are bountiful Hardwood trees, bluff views, waterfalls, etc. If a more rolling landscape is preferable, a 10 minute drive south of Cookeville leads to Sparta, TN, which contains some of the most breathtaking rolling farmland along the way. Going North of Cookeville leads to Overton County, a place with bountiful rolling hills and mountain backdrops.

Conveniently Located

There are seven counties all within a 15 minute drive of Cookeville. In addition, it is only one hour east of Nashville, TN, two hours west of Knoxville, TN, and one and a half hours from Chattanooga, TN.  At a population of approximately 40,000 in the Cookeville or Putnam County area, residents get the ease of country living while excitement is close by.

Beautiful Lakes

Cookeville, TN is surrounded by three huge man-made lakes operating hydro-power by the Corp of Engineers, and provide breathtaking views, boating, fishing, camping, tournaments, and etc.  These lakes are Cordell Hull located in Smith County just outside of Nashville, TN and encompasses approximately 250+ acres. Next, Dale Hollow Lake is located near Celina, TN which borders Kentucky and is approximately 600 miles of shoreline. Dale Hollow is known for its bass tournaments and great fishing, camping and boating as well.  Center Hill Lake is located near Smithville, TN and south of Cookeville, TN.  Center Hill Lake has approximately 400 miles of shoreline and provides generous beaches, marinas, and lake fun! All of these lakes are nearby.

Affordable Cost of Living

With no state income tax, Low property taxes, and no personal property taxes, Cookeville residents find that their money goes further.  Home prices are very reasonable compared to other areas as well. Around campus, there are several options for affordable apartments or houses for student living.

Opportunities

While Cookeville is smaller, its central location between Knoxville and Nashville allows it to have a good amount of job opportunities. Some of the more technical jobs may require commuting to Oak Ridge or Nashville, but Cookeville’s affordability allows for flexibility during the job hunting season. In addition, Cookeville has an amazing medical center with an outstanding medical staff which regularly hires students within the medical field. Due to its growth, Cookeville will have more technical jobs that open up with the construction of new facilities, including a Solar Power Plant coming in 2018.

Four Seasons

Cookeville residents get to experience the four seasons of nature.  Spring blooms are breathtaking, summertime fun is generally pleasant without too much heat, autumn showcases the beautiful tree colors and mild temperatures, and winter is cold, but not too much in the way of deep snows or ice.  

Activities

From playing golf, rock climbing, spelunking, fishing, horseback riding, hunting, kayaking, boating, hiking, to shopping, painting, fitness, or community events, we have an abundance of things to do!

Source: http://activerain.com/blogsview/4287693/top-10-reasons-to-live-in-the-cookeville–tn-area-

What to Expect When Entering Graduate School

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Let’s get this out of the way. Graduate school is different than college.

Getting a master’s degree or Ph.D. is a different experience than earning a certificate, associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree. Sure, all require you to attend classes taught by experienced professors, but that is the extent to which they are similar. Where undergraduate programs provide you with a basic foundation in your field of interest, a master’s degree or Ph.D. program builds upon that knowledge, allowing you to specialize within that field. Your work is more directed, and you are less supervised by professors who serve more as a guide and mentor than an undergraduate professor.

Because most class sizes are smaller, participation is especially important.

Having prior work experience can help immensely with the transition into life as a graduate student. Undergraduate students may complete an internship before the end of their senior year, if they plan on heading right to graduate school. Some people choose to wait a year or more after graduation to get their master’s degree so they can gain real world experience that will help them with their research.

So what exactly is it like to attend a master’s degree program? Expect to do a lot of reading in your graduate program, maybe more reading than you’ve ever done in your life. Keep up with it as best as you can. Do not expect to go to class and have a professor read an outline to you, detailing all information in the assigned reading. This practice is reserved for undergraduates who are just being introduced to the material for the first time. Rather, master’s degree and Ph.D. professors will conduct discussions on the topic, allowing room for questions, concerns and new ideas.

Higher Standards

Depending on your focus and the undergraduate school attended, your prior research paper assignments may have not been held to the strictest of standards. An acceptable graduate research paper will demonstrate more complex sentence structure and will be more scholarly in nature. Rather than answering a broad question, you will delve deeper to examine a small, but relevant aspect of the topic. With these research papers, you should expect more criticism from your professors and your peers. Learn from this criticism, and you are well on your way to becoming a successful graduate student.

Your research assignments should prepare you for your writing your thesis, or your final research paper required to get your master’s degree. Choosing a thesis topic can be seem overwhelming if you’ve never completed a project of that size. Keep in mind that successful thesis papers are written by organized, planned and dedicated students.

A graduate student is a leader and an independent thinker. Thus they must lead and fully participate in discussions and seminars. If they don’t understand a concept after class, they do not wait for someone to hand them the answer. They remain proactive in their education, trek down to the library and research to answer their question. The speed at which the internet can retrieve information is especially valuable for graduate students. Often students have links bookmarked to help them in their graduate studies. Because most class sizes are smaller, participation is especially important. Sometimes, you will have to support your thoughts and ideas during a discussion or debate.

Graduate School Research

Beyond the classroom, you will be sharing your research with others by presenting it at seminars and by having your papers published. Your research will culminate in writing a thesis or a dissertation. Don’t be modest or humble about your research. You never know who will be interested in it, and more importantly who is willing to partner with you to conduct it. For both research and class work assignments, reading and keeping up to date on the industries practices are important to having the most relevant research.

Networking is especially important at graduate school. It is here that you have the potential to form long lasting friendships and business partnerships. In graduate school, most networking is done at these seminars. Nobody is going to know what you are interested in, or what work you have done unless you present it. Networking is also common at an internship or apprenticeship completed while doing their graduate studies.

Life After Graduate School

Graduate students who already have a career, and were taking the degree program in order to advance in that career have less to worry about after graduation. However, those students in their last year of studies and do not have a job in their prospective field should begin their career search immediately. There’s some good news and some bad news when it comes to the job search. Bad news first: The search process is most likely going to take a while. The good news: If you keep your search diligent and focused, you should expect to land a full-time position.

Because of the still shaky state of the economy, some graduate schools have extended their career services to recent graduates who are having trouble securing a job. For example, in 2009, Cornell University’s S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management assigned career advisers to each student at the beginning of the school year. By the end of the year, 95% were well on their way to starting their careers.

Source: http://www.campusexplorer.com/college-advice-tips/A2F79A64/What-to-Expect-From-Graduate-School/

 

New TTU Graduate Student Orientation

Welcome to Tennessee Tech University!

For those of you who are going to be graduate students here at Tech, this post if chock-full of resources to help guide you along the path of graduate school.

First of all, make sure to come to the New Graduate Student Orientation on August 22nd in TJ Farr Room 205 (2pm to 4:30pm).

There, you will not only be able to meet fellow grad students in the program, but you will also meet the faculty and staff who will help support you on your journey. The orientation is designed to help familiarize you to campus and academic resources as well as Cookeville as a whole. The following information covers all of the important links and reminders for new graduate students.

Checklist and Reminders for New Students

Things to Do

  1. Financial Aid: Make sure all paperwork is in order.
  2. Graduate Assistantship: Applications can be found at www.tntech.edu/graduatestudies/financial
  3. Student Email Account: Sign in, it’s the main method of contact by the university.
  4. Advisement: Contact the person listed on your Certificate of Admission.
  5. Register: Login to Eagle online and register for courses.
  6. Parking permit: Get a permit if you will be parking on campus.
  7. Complete Admission Requirements: If you lack any requirements for admission, it will be indicated on your Certificate of Admission. All admission requirements must be meet by the end of the first semester or a registration hold will be placed on your account.
  8. Advisory Committee: Start thinking about which faculty members you want.
  9. Forms: Go to the Graduate Studies website and click on the FORMS link and familiarize yourself with the forms we have available.
  10. International students: Check in with the International Education office.

Things to Be Aware of

  1. Permissible Loads: There are limits in some situations.
  2. Grades: Know what grades are required to avoid dismissal or probation.
  3. Program of Study and Admission to Candidacy forms: You’ll need to file one by the end of the semester in which you will earn 15 credit hours of graduate level courses. Failure to turn in your program of study by this time will result in a registration hold.
  4. Admission to Candidacy: Find out what the process is for your degree.
  5. Changes: Learn how to make changes and the proper forms to use.
  6. Degree Completion Time Limits: Six consecutive years to complete a master’s or specialist in education; eight consecutive years to complete a doctorate.
  7. Comprehensive Exam: Learn about your department and degree’s comprehensive exam (when, where, and how).
  8. Thesis/Dissertation: TTU has a specific format for theses and dissertations. Attend a workshop before you begin writing.
  9. Graduation: You must apply for graduation in the semester you plan to complete your degree. All applications are due by the published deadline posted on our Graduate Student Calendar by semester.

Other Academic Links:

Graduate Student Handbook

Student Affairs

Graduate Student Calendar

Graduate Studies Faculty Contact Info

Tennessee Tech News

Campus Resources

Campus Map

Tennessee Tech Library

Health Services

Dining Options

Fitness Center

Cookeville Links

Restaurants

Recreation

Map of Cookeville Recreation

Cookeville Events

GRE Information and Study Tips

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Most graduate programs require taking the GRE (Graduate Record Exam)

Every year, more than 700,000 people take the Graduate Record Exam, commonly known as the GRE. While the test is similar in many ways to its college-entrance cousin, the SAT, there are some important differences.

Unlike the SAT, the GRE is most commonly taken as a computer-adaptive test

This means there’s no need for a No. 2 pencil and those all-too-familiar bubble sheets. On the computer-based test, the difficulty of the questions is based on the accuracy of your answers to previous questions. The better you perform on the first sets of 20 verbal and quantitative reasoning questions, the harder the next sets of 20 questions will be.
The GRE is broken down into three primary components: verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing

For the verbal reasoning section, test takers have two 30-minute periods to answer two sets of 20 questions

Test-takers answer two sets of 20 quantitative reasoning questions, with 35 minutes to answer each set. The analytical writing section consists of two essays, for which test takers get 30 minutes to write each. The verbal and quantitative reasoning sections are graded on a 130- to 170-point scale in 1-point increments, and the analytical writing section is scored on a 0-6 scale in half-point increments.

Having a good SAT/ACT score and GPA don’t ensure that tackling the GRE will be a simple task

The GRE doesn’t necessarily test on a student’s knowledge or aptitude. Rather, it tests students on how well they can take the GRE. Therefore, there are specific things that students need to focus on in order to do well on the test.
Below are six surefire studying tips for the GRE:

1. Go back to high school

Having trouble differentiating your X-axis from your Y? Have too many late nights in college wiped away the important teachings of Pythagoras? You’re not alone. Many GRE test takers are many years removed from the basic tenets of high school math, which play an important part in the quantitative section of the test. If you’re rusty, it’s important to revisit the concepts of algebra and geometry that you learned in high school.

“Algebra and geometry are assumed background knowledge in college courses, and you will be hard-pressed to find a class to take at that level [that] will prepare you directly for questions of this type,” says Eric Reiman, a GRE tutor with Creative Tutors. “If you’re preparing for the GRE alone, a text like Algebra for Dummies or Geometry for Dummies could be a great help, and both come with example problems to work.”

2. Sleep with your dictionary

While the GRE’s quantitative section is not much more advanced than the math found in the SAT—and familiarity with concepts learned in high school should be enough to post a decent score—the verbal section went to college and graduated with honors in English. Test takers who slept through their English classes or turned to SparkNotes may be in trouble.

During your time in school, be sure to read as much as possible to expand your vocabulary so that you can decipher unfamiliar words, testing experts say. You can assimilate far more diverse vocabulary over four years of college than you could ever hope to by cramming for a few weeks or months prior to the GRE.
“As a successor to the SAT, the GRE uses adult words that aren’t found on the SAT,” says Reiman. “It is extremely important for success on the qualitative sections of the GRE to be well read.”

3. Take a GRE prep course (if you can afford it)

According to Andrew Mitchell, director of pre-business programs at Kaplan Test Prep, the GRE is designed specifically to differ from areas of study in college and is supposed to be a measure of a college graduates’ critical thinking skills, not necessarily what they learned in school.

No matter how much cramming you might’ve done in college or how stellar your grades were, thinking critically might not come naturally. The tutoring classes tend to pay off, but are a sizable investment. Kaplan’s instructor-led classes cost more than $1,000 for about eight on-site sessions. Twenty-five hours of private GRE tutoring with Kaplan can cost roughly $3,000.

“It’s worth investing some time and money in preparing for the GRE,” says Mitchell. “Critical thinking is something that’s hard to change overnight because it’s such a lifelong skill. We try to help people unlock their critical thinking skills by getting more familiar with the test and more familiar with proven methods.” Another option for building critical thinking that’s a little easier on the checkbook is using the free resources on the Educational Testing Services (ETS) website. Sample questions and essay responses, advice, and scoring guides are available online from the folks who created the GRE.

4. Take a practice test

While your vocabulary may be impeccable, your writing skills polished, and your quantitative abilities sharpened to a razor’s edge, none of that matters if you’re unaccustomed to the test’s unconventional format.

“To walk into this test unprepared, to sit down [and take it] having never done it before is suicide,” notes Neill Seltzer, national GRE content director for the Princeton Review. Educational Testing Service, the Princeton Review, and Kaplan all have free computer adaptive tests online that help simulate what is a foreign experience to many.

“It’s different from the SAT, and that really threw me off the first time,” says Amy Trongnetrpunya, who earned a perfect score on the quantitative section of the GRE after scoring poorly on her first try. “The computer-adaptive practice exam really helped.”

5. Don’t like your score? Take it again

Schools have access to any GRE scores for tests you’ve taken in the last five years, but experts claim that many universities only care about the best one. While this isn’t true for all schools and all programs, many universities pull the highest scores from the GRE ticket they receive from ETS. The admissions officials (and sometimes work-study students) who receive the tickets are the first line of defense, and oftentimes, they record only the top score when they’re compiling your file before sending it up the admissions food chain. “Even though ETS will report every score, the person reading that file and making the admissions decision may only see the highest math and highest verbal,” says Seltzer.

6. Take a tough English course

Even if you aren’t an English major and don’t plan on writing the next great American novel, honing your writing skills is integral to overall success on the GRE. The two essays in the analytical section take up roughly one third of the time test takers are allotted. Some testing experts argue that near the end of college you should take a high-level English or writing course. While enduring a high-level writing course might put a small dent in the GPA (and ego) of non-English majors, it is an immense help when it’s time to crank out two timed essays on the pressure-packed GRE.

“I would emphasize taking a few rigorous English and writing college courses, in addition to test prep, to best prepare yourself for the caliber of questions you’ll find on the GRE,” says Alexis Avila, founder and president of Prepped & Polished, a Boston area-based college counseling and tutoring firm.

Source: https://www.usnews.com/education/best-graduate-schools/articles/2012/04/30/test-prep-6-tips-for-gre-success

Being a Tennessee Tech Graduate Student: John D. Stites

The series “Being a Graduate Student at Tennessee Tech,” is designed to give you insight into the perspectives of our diverse graduate student body. The second installment of our series introduces you to Mr. John D. Stites of Cookeville, TN. Mr. Stites has served as jstitesManaging Director of XI Investments, one of the largest commercial and industrial real estate developers in the Upper Cumberland Region of Middle Tennessee, CEO of J&S Construction Company, Inc. for over 40 years, and as Director of Real Estate Processes for the State of Tennessee. He is a prime example of the change going on in education and career advancement. Those who used to be called non-traditional students are rapidly becoming typical.  So, what are the benefits of going back to graduate school for working professionals?

Check out the following video and hear how such an accomplished professional finds value in a graduate education at Tennessee Tech.

Graduate Studies – Benefits for Working Professionals (Video: Vimeo.com)

Get information about Tennessee Tech’s graduate programs.