Not everything can be taught inside a classroom or laboratory. Take advantage of all the opportunities for learning that abound when you pursue US graduate studies.The graduate school you choose might host lectures by nationally-respected scholars. Or you might try to present your graduate school research at a conference, with a chance to get feedback from professors and fellow students.
When you are comparing US schools and graduate studies, find out what they sponsor and how much financial and academic support they give students who want to participate in events outside the classroom.
Ask graduate students in the department about conferences of interest to scholars in your field.
Hopefully the department’s own professors will know of events you can participate in and will help you prepare for them. Don’t discount your own backyard – your university could even host its own conference showcasing graduate studies.
When you are considering US graduate schools, find out if they offer opportunities for students to present papers. Do those students also speak at regional events? National conferences?
Your university or academic department might also have an organization specifically focused on graduate studies. That group could keep its members informed about upcoming opportunities.
The department could also host workshops, exhibitions or even internationally-known speakers. Find out what the college has presented in the past and what the plans are for the future.
Sharing your work at a conference means you’ll have a ready-made audience of people interested in your topic. Many will probably be able to make thoughtful comments and ask probing questions that can advance your graduate studies and make your work even better as you work toward writing your thesis.
Conferences also will allow you to learn about advances others are making in your field. That could spark ideas that will help your graduate studies as you work toward a master’s degree or doctoral degree. At the very least, you will be able to make contacts with people in your discipline.
Many US universities will help cover expenses related to traveling to conferences in the form of grants or scholarships. Find out your department’s policies.
Sometimes first-year graduate students aren’t eligible to receive reimbursements. Also, students might be prohibited from getting funds if they want to simply attend a conference but not present a paper or poster.
Learn if your department has a maximum amount of money a graduate student can receive and if that can be applied to travel to only one conference per year or to multiple events. Don’t forget to pay close attention to the deadlines to apply for the funds.
Opportunities such as conferences, workshops and speakers can help you develop your own ideas and strengthen your graduate studies. Find out what events you can expect to participate in at US graduate schools you are considering.