Tips to get back-to-graduate-school ready

Back to school time isn't just for the kids. Nearly half of you are headed to graduate school for your first year or to continue your program this Fall. If you're not destined for the classroom, chances are you know someone who is. Get back-to-grad-school ready with my eight tips, or pass them along to a friend who's gearing up for the semester.

  • Buy School Supplies in Bulk - Buying in bulk is usually cheaper, so take advantage of those deals and stock up on all of your necessary school and desk supplies. Consider splitting certain bulk items with a pal if you don't need a lot of one thing. Get off on the right foot by being prepared with the organizational and functional tools you need.
  • Organize Your Computer - You're going to rely on your computer a whole lot during grad school, so prepare by trashing things you no longer need or saving them onto another drive to clear up space on your machine. Set up separate folders for each class so that you're never left searching for anything in a frenzy. You'll also want to set up separate folders in your file cabinet for each course.
  • Mark Your Calendar - Find a calendar system that works for you; you may consider keeping a master calendar at home and carrying a daily planner with you. Include deadlines for financial aid, grant proposals, test dates, paper deadlines, study group times, etc.
  • Get Your Eyes Checked - If you've been putting off a visit to your eye doctor, now is the time to schedule an appointment. Between class-time, doing course-work, and studying, you'll want to make sure you're able to see clearly.
  • Create a Student Budget - We've all heard the term 'broke grad student.' Graduate school is expensive, and it's likely you'll have to compromise the lifestyle to which you're accustomed. Make a spending plan including your fixed living and school expenses, and then budget whatever money is leftover.
  • Buy a Bookbag - You'll need something sturdy to carry your books and/or laptop around, so invest in one that is sturdy and spacious.
  • Get a Comfortable Pair of Flats - Call on your sensibilities and make sure you have a comfy pair of flats that go with most everything. You're probably going to be doing a lot of walking and won't have much money to shop, so buy a pair that's versatile.
  • Set Up a Well-Lit Study Area - Designate a space that encourages productivity. Keep all of your supplies in your work/study area and ensure there's plenty of light to avoid straining your eyes.
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