You may well be aware that, by a huge margin, there is indeed a difference between graduate and undergraduate studies. However, those of you who aren’t too familiar with the post grad world and are planning to enter may not know the distinctions. Below is a brief outline of the differences I believe will be most helpful for you right now.
- Age and experience
Obviously, there is an age and experience gap between graduate and undergrad students. Grad students tend to be more mature and experienced than those studying for an undergraduate degree. They know how to go about things and are aware of the choices they’ve made in studying for graduate school—and exactly why they should work hard to finish.
- More autonomy, less structure
Unlike in undergraduate programs, students of graduate school are required to act on their own initiative. No teachers, professors, or even graduate coordinators, will dictate what to do or how to do things. Since students are mature at this stage of their education, they are assumed to know how act on their own. After all, what would be the point of undergrad studies, if not to prepare you for the real world?
- Time commitment
Graduate studies—unlike college—require a lot of time. Undergraduate students may have enough time for generous amounts of fun, but post-grad students are compelled to spend more time studying and solving problems relevant to their program. If you’re not up for managing your time properly and devoting most of it to your studies, you may want to rethink grad school! (That said, there are still some ways for you to spend your time in grad school, especially during the summer.)
As people who have graduated college, those in graduate school have developed their research skills through experience and formal training. Research skills are required in the post-grad world, so those entering graduate school but are still stuck with how they went about things back in college may wish to improve their research proficiency beforehand.
If you have anything to add, please feel free to share in the comments section below!