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Graduate Student Resources - Quick Reference

According to our Experts


I was new to taking competency based classes, and it was really scary to get my first assignment graded and find out that I was going to have to do more work to get a good grade. There was some self-doubt for sure. But I got used to thinking of each deliverable as an iterative process with a lot of editing and refining. Now I don't stress as much about writing a first draft--it can be terrible, and that's okay because it's my starting point.


I graduated with my bachelor's degree from Rasmussen, and even though I'm used to taking online classes, I need more time per class than I ever did before to really feel like I've mastered what we're working on. I have to be realistic about some of the other commitments I make outside of school and work and really tighten up my time management. I squeeze my schoolwork into little chunks of time when I was probably on social media before.

It's been a real eye opener to have to start viewing myself as a scholar with my own voice. I've had great luck with my professors, and they've been supportive about coaching me through this stuff. I also heard about the Writing Lab and use it really regularly to have another set of eyes on my work. The comments they give are pretty good, and it's helping me to become a much stronger writer.

I started using the library chat service when I was having trouble finding what I needed in the databases. In the end, they suggested a research assistance appointment, and it was amazing. I mean, obviously librarians are going to be experts in using databases, but it surprised me just how much information they were able to help me find. I learned a lot during my first appointment, and I would definitely do another if I get stuck again.

On developing analytical writing skills:


"When writing at the graduate level, students need to move beyond descriptive writing skills and start building analytic writing skills. As undergraduates, students were mainly asked to write about how to do something, to state what happened, or provide information or options. At the graduate level, critical thinking and research is required so that an informed analysis may be given about a topic. Analysis can include showing why something is suitable or relevant, evaluates strengths and weaknesses of options, and makes reasoned judgments based on available evidence. I would highly encourage that students who are less practiced in analytical writing work on those writing skills in addition to mastering the content of their courses – such practice will help lead to greater success in graduate-level work."

- Dr. Adrienne Isakovic



On time management:


“While in graduate school (and even now), a solid ‘time management’ plan was vital. Planning time for reading, studying, and homework helped to decrease anxiety and stress. Additionally, I made sure that I had time for family, friends, and myself.”

- Dr. Joyvina Evans



 On writer's block:


“The blinking cursor on the blank page is the worst part. Make it go away by typing something—anything. You know *some*thing about the topic, right? Maybe you have an idea for one example you plan to use. Maybe you are pretty sure you are going to describe a certain concept or term. Just start typing about whatever it is you know right in that moment. Don’t worry about how it reads then and there. Just keep writing and let your ideas flow. Once that page starts to fill up, then go back later to organize your thoughts, add citations where appropriate, and polish the language (grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.). “

- Dr. Caroline Gulbrandsen



 On the thinking-writing connection:


“I have been stressing the importance of outlines before they sit to write their papers.  We seem to have a disconnect from thought- and- research –to- paper with what I have seen.  I would always outline all of my grad papers to help organize my thoughts and my research before writing.”

- Dr. Jennifer Trout



On enjoying the ride:


“The time I started thinking I was a successful graduate student is when I started reading/do projects in my classes because I thought it was fun and not because I had a homework assignment due.”

- Dr. Don Wedding