Don't think about why you're applying. Select a topic for entirely strategic reasons. Choose the coolest supervisor. Write only to deadlines. Expect people to hold your hand. Become "that" student.
When it comes to a masters or PhD program, most graduate students don't deliberately set out to fail. Yet, of the nearly 500,000 people who start a graduate program each year, up to half will never complete their degree. Books abound on acing the admissions process, but there is little on what to do once the acceptance letter arrives. Veteran graduate directors Kevin D. Haggerty and Aaron Doyle have set out to demystify the world of advanced education. Taking a wry, frank approach, they explain the common mistakes that can trip up a new graduate student and lay out practical advice about how to avoid the pitfalls. Along the way they relate stories from their decades of mentorship and even share some slip-ups from their own grad experiences.
The litany of foul-ups is organized by theme and covers the grad school experience from beginning to end: selecting the university and program, interacting with advisors and fellow students, balancing personal and scholarly lives, navigating a thesis, and creating a life after academia. Although the tone is engagingly tongue-in-cheek, the lessons are crucial to anyone attending or contemplating grad school. 57 Ways to Screw Up in Grad School allows you to learn from others' mistakes rather than making them yourself.
"This is a book prospective students should buy before embarking on a graduate school career and that current students will keep close to their desks and computers. Haggerty and Doyle are knowledgeable, honest, open, and supportive. Moreover, their advice is spot-on. This is the kind of book I wish I had before starting graduate school."
– Jon Gould, professor, American University and author of How to Succeed in College (While Really Trying)
"Graduate school is a high-stakes venture when you consider the time and cost invested in return for relatively meager job prospects. 57 Ways to Screw Up in Grad School provides useful advice to make a student's time in grad school as productive and rewarding as possible."
– C. Ray Chandler, professor, Georgia Southern University and author of The Chicago Guide to Landing a Job in Academic Biology
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Kevin D. Haggerty is a Killam Research Laureate and professor of sociology and criminology at the University of Alberta. He is also editor of the Canadian Journal of Sociology. Haggerty's most recent book is Transparent Lives.
Aaron Doyle is associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Carleton University. His most recent book is Eyes Everywhere.