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Preparing for Success In Graduate School and Beyond

Students at the QuadWhat You Need to Know and Do Now

While graduation may seem distant to many, it is important to remember that one's undergraduate years serve as the foundation for subsequent endeavors. Clarifying one's goals early and working to place oneself in a position to fulfill these goals are necessary for success. The following guidelines offer practical advice aimed at helping students achieve the intellectual and personal growth required for success beyond the undergraduate level.

  • PUT your best foot forward academically from the very beginning. A low grade point average most often becomes successively harder to raise as the semesters roll by.
  • KNOW your teachers and the expectations of each. Some will want you to be brief, concise; others will prefer more details, more development. Look upon this as a growth experience for learning to deal with a variety of different types of people you will work with throughout your life.
  • MAKE SURE that your teachers know you as a person, not just as a name in the roll book. Participate in class discussions and do not hesitate to make use of the faculty members’ office hours. Knowing your goals, your experiences, and the way you think will put them in a better position to write strong and detailed recommendations for graduate school and/or job applications.
  • PARTICIPATE from the beginning in activities that broaden your horizons: music, drama, newspaper, athletics, one or more of the volunteer activities serving others- on and off Loyola’s campus, sponsored by the Center for Values and Service and other concerned groups. This broader experience can be extremely important in various possible competitive applications and interviews for future awards.
  • PLAN a reading program that extends beyond the confines of you major and includes topics from a variety of fields. In particular, include regular reading about current events: there is a world beyond Loyola, beyond Baltimore, beyond Maryland, beyond the U.S.!
  • CULTIVATE your ability to express yourself well, both orally and in writing. Attend lectures in various areas of interest and observe the speakers’ skills and techniques, so that you can incorporate those you prefer when you are expected to address others in the future.
  • USE your reading program as well as every possible opportunity to become aware of a variety of writing styles and to increase your own writing proficiency as you develop your own writing style. Put time and effort into incorporating logic, grammar, and rhetoric into written assignments for every course. One who writes well in every situation is assuredly on the road to intellectual maturity and ultimate success.
  • LEARN to question, analyze, to compare and contrast, to think independently and critically, to be self-motivated; in short, be a genuine scholar. Do not appropriate others’ answers for your own; use the knowledge that you acquire in the classroom and through your reading to formulate your own unique responses to life’s challenging questions.
  • SEARCH for a faculty member who has pursued a field of inquiry in which you might be interested. You might request a bibliography so that you can read further, then pursue a discussion of the topic when it is convenient for the faculty member and yourself. Such interaction could be helpful in formulating a post-baccalaureate program if/when you might want to consider one in the future.
  • ENDEAVOR to get involved in research under a faculty member during the academic year and at Loyola or elsewhere during the summer. Such experience can sometimes contribute to success during your undergraduate years, so that you may even launch out on a venture of your own.
  • AVAIL yourself of occasions for cultural exchange by making the acquaintance of foreign students and students of differing backgrounds, who bring a welcome multi-cultural dimension to the Loyola campus.
  • INCORPORATE the practical knowledge you gain through summer or part-time work, internships, volunteer services, and other work experience with the theoretical knowledge you acquire in the classroom. Work situations of every kind teach invaluable lessons for learning cooperation with diverse personalities.
  • BEGIN to keep a personal file of work experience, memberships and offices held, research activity, travel experience, etc., with some explanation or amplification to remind you of what you gained from the experience. This can form the basis for a vita or resume when needed.
  • BLEND study, activities, and service in such a way that you will be a broader, fuller, richer person because of your experiences at Loyola. In this way you will enjoy your college years, at the same time becoming the truly enriched person that you have the potential to become!

Contact Us

Terre Ryan, M.B.A., Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Writing
Director of National Fellowships
Maryland Hall 043J

Loyola University Maryland National Fellowships Office