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How to Read Like a Graduate Student

Katrina H. Dunlap


If you are in graduate school—whether part-time or full-time—chances are you are inundated with multiple reading assignments. From reading dissertations to textbooks, these assignments can be time-wasted without a having a strategic approach to pull something useful out of it. While there are lots of acronym-driven reading techniques, like “SQ3R” or “Survey-Question-Read-Recite-Review,” which aim to help you build a framework to understand your reading assignment, I personally believe that these techniques take too much time to understand and are cumbersome. Below, I’ve outlined some helpful tips for you to consider with respect to your graduate-level reading assignments.

Skim it! The longer the readings are, the more …

Fulbright Season Is Here!

Learn more about international opportunities for graduate students through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

March 3, 2017

By Kay Ágoston, Director of Graduate Fellowships

Of all the grant and fellowship programs I advise Mason graduate students on, the most popular is without a doubt the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.  Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE), the Fulbright program is one of the premier nationally competitive awards available to U.S. students.  Originally created in the aftermath of World War II, the goal of the program is to promote mutual cultural understanding and academic exchange between the United States and the rest …

Mason Grad Insider’s Guide to Publishing: Part 2

24 February 2017

Austin Deray

This week’s Insider continues our publishing series.[i]  Last week, we went over the first three steps of publishing: Step 1: Identify your audience; Step 2: Familiarize Yourself; and Step 3: Know the Guidelines. This week we will continue our guide into publishing with steps 4-6. Let’s get started!

Step 4: Follow these General Rules and Guidelines

Besides knowing the style guidelines for specific disciplines (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, AMA), there are some specific rules and guidelines to keep in mind when publishing.

Before submitting, read and follow the instructions for authors provided by the particular journal you are targeting (see the journal’s web page for …

Mason Grad Insider’s Guide to Publishing: Part 1

17 February 2017

Austin A. Deray

For this week’s Insider, we’ve decided to focus on both an academic and a professional issue: publishing.[i]  Most think the hardest part of the publishing process is writing the perfect article, review, or chapter excerpt; however, I’ll be honest that it is just the beginning. What can be the longest, most heart-crushing, and most exhausting bit of the process is the journal selection and publication process.

This all being said, I thought it would be help to go through a quick look, a beginner’s guide if you will, to publishing as a graduate student.

Step 1: Identify Your Audience

An easy, but often overlooked, …

Master Networking and Dining Etiquette at Mason’s Annual Graduate and Professional Student Event

February 10, 2017

By Lori Cohen Scher and Julie Choe Kim

Have you ever attended a professional cocktail hour where you had to manage holding a drink glass, a plate, a fork AND had to shake someone’s hand and exchange business cards?

Have you ever dined with a potential employer and noticed she had a piece of spinach stuck in her front tooth?

Have you ever gone to a networking event all by yourself and walked into a crowded room where there was no one there you knew?

These common, and not to mention awkward, moments happen to us all.

As graduate and professional students, there is …

Goal Setting and Motivation

How many of us set goals for the academic semester or year? Goals are important to getting things done and moving forward to advance both our professional and personal lives. They serve as a motivational tool to keep us on track and focused on the many smaller tasks that lead up to achieving our desired outcomes. Goal setting is a foundation upon which to build your personal and professional development. Goals should encompass short-term, long-term, personal and professional.

 “Begin with the end in mind.” – Stephen Covey

As a graduate student, consider the obvious goal – graduating. To envision this goal, one must examine the many steps that may take …

Seven Tips for Surviving Finals

2 December 2016

Seven Tips for Surviving Finals

It’s that time of the year again: the dreaded finals time. I don’t know about y’all, but I am ready to turn in my final term paper, sit on the couch, and veg out for a long winter break. But before any of us can do that, we should prep and work on our finals. Hopefully, it’s no surprise that there are a few studies out there that offer some helpful tips on prepping for the end of the semester, and I thought I’d share my favorite seven from a few different sources.[1]

“Create a master to-do list and a schedule for …

Academic Tips during the Winter Break

November 18, 2016

By Katrina Dunlap

Deadlines for papers loom and final exams are approaching for us all. We’ve marked our calendars for the last day of the fall semester and are looking forward to the winter break—approximately five weeks until the spring semester begins. While it is enticing to stay warm under the covers and binge watch your favorite season of the Walking Dead or Scandal, consider how to use this time that would yield the greatest benefit to you academically. If you are not sure of what to do during this timeframe, consider the following ideas that can keep you engaged with your academic goals and will help …

To Brunch, or Not to Brunch… That Should Be the Question

10 November 2016

Happy Thursday, Mason grad and professional students. I know that our blog posts this year have been a bit information-heavy as we sought to provide resources for your success. So, I’ve decided to take this opportunity to turn a recent conversation about weekend brunches into this week’s blog. In a recent conversation about the notion of brunching, I discovered, while the popularity is known for the DMV locals, it’s not understood why it is such a social and cultural practice in the region. For most, brunch can be a practice and a pleasure on a given Saturday or Sunday; however, the DC metro area seems to take …

Student Loan Debt Reduction Strategies

“The only man who sticks closer to you in adversity than a friend is a creditor.” – Unknown

“Creditors have better memories than debtors.” – Benjamin Franklin

If you are a college graduate or currently a matriculating graduate student, chances are you have student loans. While student loans have made it possible for students to pursue their academic desires, many graduates have been consumed and burdened by these financial mechanisms. It has been widely noted that approximately 43 million Americans are burdened with nearly $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, which compared to last year, is a six percent increase.[i][ii][iii]  Many economists are predicting that student loan debt will negatively …