Transition to Graduate School | Student Caring


In every aspect of life, there is one fact that we must accept: change is unavoidable. It is often said that there are two kinds of people. The ones who struggle through changes and the ones, who thrive on them and in the process, seize every opportunity to learn, grow, and improve their lives. Transitioning to graduate school can either make you or break you. It all depends on your preparation to go through the motion without being overwhelmed. Whether you struggle or thrive through this particular change depends on your knowledge of what to expect. Transitioning smoothly from an undergraduate to a graduate program in Healthcare administration requires more mental adjustments and preparation, than actual perspiration.

Moving beyond the classroom

First of all, the prospective graduate student in Healthcare Administration must understand and expect that there are certain things that will be different from the undergraduate program. You must first understand that while undergraduate studies focus on reading, problem sets, and other assignments with specific dates, graduate school focuses mainly on the your independent research and will require you to move far beyond his or her current knowledge and understand and position your mind to take flight on higher planes. To do this successfully, you must be prepared to set your goals and create deadlines for achieving them.

From tests to thesis

Additionally, you need to know that unlike undergraduate school, graduate school is not test oriented. Hence your success at graduate school will not be measure by your ability to successfully regurgitate what was taught but rather by your initiative to gather information to make new conceptual and experimental connections. Gone are the days when your success in school was for the greater part determined by your GPA. The fact is that the undergraduates who proceed to graduate schools are already identified has the high achievers by the GPA in undergraduate school. Therefore, graduate school is the chance to prove the other skills that you can ‘bring to the table’. The final means of evaluation for graduation is a research or thesis, judged by a faculty committee.

From I know the answer to No One Knows the Answer

Furthermore, with is quite interesting about graduate school is that unlike undergraduate schools where the emphasis is on getting stuffs right, in graduate school the focus will be focused on the fact that no one knows the answer, hence the need for research. Therefore it would be wise to get comfortable with this shift and condition your mind to finding the fun in ‘not knowing’ since this will be a strange concept especially for the highly accomplished undergraduate student.

The place where it’s Ok to Fail

Another interesting mental adjustment that is necessary to transition smoothly is to accept the fact that unlike undergraduate school, it is ok to fail in graduate school. You will soon discover that failing will be part of your life in graduate school, since that is what research is all about; trying and failing, making adjustments and retrying again and again. This may be overwhelming for the undergraduate student who may have thought of him or herself as a perfectionist. You will need to bear in mind that when you are doing something for the first time it is quite okay to fail. As a matter of fact, life is a story of failing and making mistakes until you get it right. However your success in graduate school will not be measured and determined by how often you failed but your ability to be persistent until you finally get it right.



I would be naïve of me to tell you that transitioning from undergraduate to graduate school will not require hard word. However being mentally prepared for the imminent changes will go a far way in cushioning the overwhelming effect that these changes may bring if you are unprepared.

Guest Author: Liz Ryan


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Making the Transition to Graduate School