Foundations for Educational Success is your resource hub for Succeeding in Graduate School and Succeeding in Your Discipline, The Power of Writing, preparing and presenting Conference Papers, understanding the differences between a Curriculum Vitae (CV) and a Resume, recognizing and improving Literacies for the Digital Age, and preparing for and completing Applications for Scholarships, Fellowships and Grants.
Succeeding in Graduate School
Intelligence, emotional intelligence, curiosity and conscientiousness may be keys to getting your degree, research suggests. The American Psychological Association (APA) presents this article for students pursuing graduate degrees in psychology, but offers success factors for all areas of study.
A short companion article to What Predicts Grad School Success discusses one particular personality factor that has a downside in the graduate school environment, but can also be a benefit.
Thoughts on how best to be a successful graduate student from a recent graduate and her mentor reprsent experiences spanning 25+ years. The University of Virginia (UVA) presents this article under their How to Succeed as a Graduate Student resource center.
This two-page article, adapted from A Handbook of the Marian College Psychology Department, identifies factors named most often by graduate school faculty to identify superstars.
As universities move towards full compliance and resolve gaps in their policies, students, educators, and administrators need to know their rights and obligations under the law.
The Student Lounge has resources designed to help students with disabilities learn more about how to prepare for and be successful in postsecondary education and careers.
This article from TheGradStudentWay.com offers insights on the importance of overcoming stress the right way in order to persevere to get the PhD. Throughout the article are comic strips from PhDComics.com to keep your sense of humor engaged.
What do you do when experiences during (and possibly related to) grad school paralyze you with fear or other strong emotions? GradHacker writer Ashley Sanders provides practical advice on how to move through fear and develop resilience that will carry you through your program and life.
Learn some techniques that can help reduce your stress and test anxiety.
Advice for those just starting out in graduate school from The Chronicle of Higher Education.
A guide for entering graduate students covering the basics: getting the most out of the relationship with your research advisor or boss, getting the most out of what you read, making continual progress on your research, finding a thesis topic or formulating a research plan, characteristics to look for in a good advisor, mentor, boss or committee member, and avoiding the research blues.
Rackham Graduate School has prepared this thorough guide covering all aspects of mentoring including: why mentoring is important, finding a mentor, establishing a mentor relationship, your responsibilities as a mentee, dealing with problems and changing advisors, and making the transition from mentee to colleague.
Stephen J. Aguilar writes that it's normal for graduate students to feel a bit intimidated sometimes, but they need to remind themselves that they belong and that they are learning.
This article provides 15 pieces of advice for graduate students. To access #11-15 on the second page, select 'Next Abstract' in the upper right near Table of Contents.
Stephen C. Stearns, a Yale professor, shares important advice for succeeding in graduate school.
Donald Asher, a writer and speaker specializing in careers and higher education, covers 12 ways to help you stay focused and take advantage of opportunities to be better prepared for your dissertation when the time comes, which can play a role in finishing your Ph.D. sooner.
The occupational hazard of being "the decider" can warp your judgment. This article discusses decision fatigue, why it happens and how to counteract it. While the article is not solely focused on graduate students, it can offer helpful advice for dealing with tough decisions while completing your program.
Kaplan's Free Grad Degree Series (webinars)
Kaplan's free Grad Degree Series offers in-depth and expert advice on all aspects of the graduate program experience. Attend the series and learn:
- How to get into the top graduate programs
- How to choose between different programs
- What post-degree career options will be available to you in a variety of career fields
- How to finance your graduate school education
Learning how to say no is important, but the question of what you should say no to remains. This article discusses when to say yes and what to avoid.
This website provides advice and consulting services on the academic job search and all elements of the academic and post-academic career.
If you understand how you learn and study, you can identify strengths and challenges, which allows you to make appropriate adjustments to your learning and studying techniques.
When you first start graduate school, it seems like everyone has a piece of helpful advice to impart. Emily VanBuren writes about the advice she wished someone had offered: Learn to laugh, learn to laugh at yourself, and learn to laugh at frustrating situations.
The Top Lies Told by Graduate Students. Top Five Lies Told by Teaching Assistants. You Just Might be a Graduate Student If...
Warning!: Reading this entire archive can be hazardous to your research. Proceed with caution and use only in moderation.
"While graduate school is often touted as a way to specialize in a given field and increase earning power, opponents argue it can put students into debt without helping them get better jobs." The Onion offers a pros and cons list of going to graduate school.
When being thrown into the open-ended project that is obtaining a PhD, it is critically important to make consistent progress in completing the major milestones of your program. This can be more than a little overwhelming for most students, and extremely difficult for those who are not familiar with the ins and outs of modern academia (i.e. first-generation students).
Having a plan with clear measurable goals will help you make consistent progress towards your degree requirements.
Jordan Peterson, a psychology professor at the University of Toronto, co-authored a paper that demonstrates a startling effect: nearly erasing the gender and ethnic minority achievement gap for 700 students over the course of two years with a short written exercise in setting goals. Anya Kamenetz, NPR's lead education blogger, reviews this paper for NPR Education. Read the full original paper.
This article, written by PhD candidate in History at Northwestern University Katie Shives, outlines some common themes in making consistent progress in academia from both the STEM and Humanities perspectives.
In the University of British Columbia's Handbook of Graduate Supervision setting goals is broken down into long-and short-term goals and what makes them effective.
University of Southern California Dornsife writes about the importance of goal setting for students in the Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIST) Graduate Programs, but the advice given can be applied to all disciplines.
Carthage College offers this goal setting guide which lists important questions to ask yourself, as well as challenges you to be honest about your motivations for attending graduate or professional school.
SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. University of Massachusetts Dartmouth prepared a guide to helping you create SMART goals.
In this Forbes Magazine article from August 2014, Ashley Feinstein shares a fascinating study that was conducted on the 1979 Harvard MBA program. Graduates were asked, "Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?" The results of the study highlight how critical it is to simply write down your goals.
This article contains tips from current graduate students, as well as a short video.
Graduate students and procrastination experts share their best time-management tips.
Part time PhD students share five time management ideas to help you in graduate school.
Take short quizzes to determine whether you are using your time wisely and discover ways to take control of your time.
Some quick considerations before clicking the "Send" button on Professional and Academic Emails:
- Email is forever
- Treat this email as you would any other correspondence
- Email goes where it's told - double check the email address in the "To" line
- Check the syllabus or assignment sheet in case the professor does not use their university email
- Never include demands in a subject line (i.e. Urgent Request), but use a subject line that will grab the reader's attention
- Do not write in ALL CAPITALS or in all lower case letters
- Keep your message brief (about the length of one computer screen)
- Before sending attachments, check that the professor is willing to accept longer documents
- Don't send attachments in bizarre formats (i.e. .odt)
- Always acknowledge if your professor responds by letting them know you got the handout or reference you requested
- Try to respond to return messages within 48 hours, even if it is just to acknowledge that you received an email and specify when you will respond to the sender
- Save comments about your professor's performance until end-of-semester evaluations
- Signatures count
- Skip cute quotes or statements of your religious or political views at the bottom of your email - you never know what offends
- Avoid using emoticons
- Don't lay it on too think - polite and friendly is one thing, brown nosing is another
- Do not send off-color jokes, gossip or confidential information
- Email is forever
This quick guide to college email etiquette, prepared by Tufts University, offers some pointers to keep in mind when corresponding professionally.
This brief guide, prepared by the University of Delaware, contains 12 simple steps to send a respectful email that won't get you on your professor's bad side.
This humorous, but necessary, article presents a way for professors to help students who haven't learned email etiquette yet.
There are two basic categories of professional attire: business professional or business casual. Business professional is the more formal of the two and most commonly worn in recruiting situations. When less formal attire is preferred, use the business casual guidelines.
In most graduate school interview sessions (both pre-application meetings and after application submission when invited to an interview for admission to a graduate program) business professional is recommended, which should include a suit jacket/blazer for both genders and a tie for men. The blazer (and the tie) can be removed so that the presentation of self can easily become more casual; for example if you get invited out to a cafe by a faculty member or graduate student after the on campus interviews are done.
Women's Business Professional
- A suit in a dark color like black, gray or navy. Solid or fine pinstripe. Skirt suits should be no shorter than two inches above the knee.
- Blouse or dress shirt.
- Mid-heel, closed-toe dress shoes and hose.
- Minimal jewelry, perfume, and makeup.
Men's Business Professional
- A suit in a dark color like black, gray or navy. Solid or pinstripe.
- Long-sleeve, button-down shirt and a tie.
- Black or dark brown dress shoes with dark socks that complement your suit.
- Minimal jewelry and cologne.
Women's Business Casual
- Skirt or pressed slacks.
- Blouse or sweater.
- Low-heeled professional shoes.
- A jacket is optional.
Men's Business Casual
- Neat slacks or trousers.
- Button-down, tucked-in shirt.
- Professional shoes.
- A jacket is optional.
Vanderbilt University's Center for Student Professional Development provides tips for appropriate dress, creating professional profile photos, requesting letters of reference, business correspondence, and includes sample thank you letters.
Below are some basic etiquette tips for socializing in a professional setting.
- Show up on time, ten minutes early is recommended.
- Turn off your cell phone.
- Place your name tag on the upper right side, toward your shoulder.
- Wear appropriate attire, clarify ahead of time.
- Use an official title (e.g., Dr. Rodriguez) when greeting someone.
- When introducing executives, begin with the highest ranking person (e.g., Ms. CEO, I would like you to meet Mr. Hiring Manager).
- Make sure that you hear the person’s name. If not, ask to have the name repeated.
- Make immediate eye contact and smile when introduced.
- Always shake hands from a standing position.
- Shake hands (web to web).
- Whenever possible, volunteer your name first. This demonstrates friendly confidence.
- Make eye contact to build rapport and convey your interest, attention and confidence.
- If others order alcoholic beverages, do not feel obliged to order one also.
- Avoid topics that may be controversial or unsuitable (e.g., politics, gossip, religion and off-color jokes).
- Avoid foul or inappropriate language.
- Show active listening skills by asking open-ended questions.
- Bring up the weather, if all else fails.
- Be as polite to servers as you are to those with whom you are dining.
- Once seated, place your napkin in your lap.
- Put it on your chair when leaving the table temporarily.
- When finished eating, place your napkin to the left side of your plate.
- Cutlery should be used starting from the outside in.
- The bread plate is located on the left side. If you start the bread basket, always pass it to your right.
- Help yourself after the basket has circulated around the table.
- Your water glass, coffee cup, and other glassware are located on the right.
- Salt and pepper shakers always travel together.
- Wait for the host to begin eating or start when invited by the host to do so.
- Do not begin until everyone at your table is served.
- Collect a business card or contact information from individuals you met during the event.
- Send a thank-you note within 1-2 days to convey appreciation and professionalism.
Succeed in Your Discipline
Library services and recommended resources for biomedical and clinical researchers. This toolkit includes literature databases, lab protocols, funding and collaboration resources, tools for finding scientific information, and guides for complying with NIH policies.
The National Science Digital Library (NSDL) provides high quality online educational resources for teaching and learning, with current emphasis on the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.
The University of Washington's Psychology Writing Center presents this 8 page guide covering two main approaches to a literature review in psychology.
Many students entering a master’s in accounting program come from a background, both educational and professional, in finance and business but an undergraduate degree in the business arena is not absolutely required. MastersinAccounting.info offers this guide for earning a masters in accounting.
The Power of Writing
An entertaining look at the most common English errors, and how to avoid them.
Walden University provides an introduction and guide to scholarly writing, the genre of writing used in all academic fields. While it can feel unfamiliar and intimidating, it is a skill you can learn.
Walden University provides instruction on grammar and composition in scholarly writing.
Dartmouth presents this handy guide covering the most commonly occurring errors as well as tips for becoming your own grammar tutor.
Dartmouth's Institute for Writing and Rhetoric presents this guide for how to develop a critical eye for revision and includes tips for revision.
The Writing Center at Harvard College provides concise introductions to the essential features of writing in several concentrations.
Walden University's Writing Center’s top undergraduate writing tips to help you get started with academic writing.
Dartmouth presents this guide which focuses on the basic principles of a sentence.
The Purdue OWL offers over 200 free resources including: writing, research, grammar and mechanics, style guides, job search and professional writing.
This page offers links to resources that can help writers with a wide range of concerns, from finding interesting topics to revising, editing, and proofreading.
Mixed-up, mangled expressions; foreign-language faux pas; confused and confusing terms; commonly mispronounced words--they're all explained in this useful guide.
Cornell University Library prepared this guide for preparing an annotated bibliography.
TRIO Training at the University of Washington provides resources on copyrights, and avoiding plagiarism
Modules presented by Walden University focus specifically on the appropriate ways writers should incorporate and cite sources they use in their writing.
Complete modules presented by Walden University to learn the basics of APA references and citations.
Walden University offers this guide to APA style, including a basics checklist.
Plagiarism and copyright abuse have increased greatly as more and more people are producing content online. Learn how to use information correctly to create quality content while protecting the intellectual property of others.
Douglas Degelman, PhD of Vanguard University of Southern California prepared this document to provide a common core of elements of APA style that all members of an academic department can adopt as minimal standards for any assignment that specifies APA style.
Chicago Style is the style of formatting books and research papers documented in the Chicago Manual of Style (CMS), 2003, and Kate Turabian’s Manual for Writer’s of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 1996 (both published by the University of Chicago Press). While sometimes reference is made to a “Turabian style,” this is simply the Chicago style applied to research papers.
The abstract is a one-paragraph, self-contained summary of the most important elements of the paper.
- Pagination: The abstract begins on a new page (page 2).
- Heading: “Abstract” is centered on the first line below the running head.
- Format: The abstract (in block format) begins on the line following the "Abstract" heading. The abstract word limit is set by individual journals. Typically, the word limit is between 150 and 250 words. All numbers in the abstract (except those beginning a sentence) should be typed as digits rather than words.
There are two types of Abstracts:
- Communicate contents of reports
- Include purpose, methods, scope, results, conclusions, and recommendations
- Highlight essential points
- Are short—from a paragraph to a page or two, depending upon the length of the report (10% or less of the report)
- Allow readers to decide whether they want to read the report
- Tell what the report contains
- Include purpose, methods, scope, but NOT results, conclusions, and recommendations
- Are always very short— usually under 100 words
- Introduce subject to readers, who must then read the report to learn study results
An effective Abstract:
- Uses one or more well-developed paragraphs, which are unified, coherent, concise, and able to stand alone
- Uses an introduction-body-conclusion structure in which the parts of the report are discussed in order: purpose, findings, conclusions, recommendations
- Follows strictly the chronology of the report
- Provides logical connections between material included
- Adds no new information but simply summarizes the report
- Is intelligible to a wide audience
To write an effective report abstract, follow these four steps:
- Reread your report with the purpose of abstracting in mind. Look specifically for these main parts: purpose, methods, scope, results, conclusions, and recommendations.
- After you have finished rereading your report, write a rough draft without looking back at your report. Consider the main parts of the abstract listed in step #1. Do not merely copy key sentences from your report. You will put in too much or too little information. Do not summarize information in a new way.
- Revise your rough draft to
- Correct weaknesses in organization and coherence,
- Drop superfluous information,
- Add important information originally left out,
- Eliminate wordiness, and
- Correct errors in grammar and mechanics.
- Carefully proofread your final copy.
The Writing Center at UNC Chapel hill provides definitions and examples of the two main types of abstracts: descriptive and informative. It also provides guidelines for constructing an abstract and general tips for you to keep in mind when drafting. Finally, it includes a few examples of abstracts broken down into their component parts.
This presentation, prepared by a University of Massachusetts professor, provides information about abstracts, including what it is, its purpose, and its parts.
These guidelines are used by reviewers and can provide insight on what reviewers are looking for in your abstract or paper submissions.
Writing a masters thesis can feel like running a 100m race, while writing a PhD thesis can feel like running a marathon. But in many ways the approach to both of these is quite similar. This article examines different aspects of thesis/dissertation writing.
This guide, offered by Dartmouth's Institute for Writing and Rhetoric, provides a guide for writing a thesis sentence, developing a thesis, and anything else you need to know.
Concise advice on some fundamental elements of academic writing.
This guide, presented by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), offers advice on constructing an abstract that entices the reader to continue reading.
As you work through your undergraduate education you will read several books and journal articles in your discipline. Most undergraduate students just read what they are required to for a particular class or to write a particular term paper and then do nothing else with the information from the reading. If the student wants to use that information again in the future she/he has to locate the source again and skim it to locate the information.
As a McNair Scholar you should begin to think and act like a successful graduate student. In preparation for being successful in graduate school you should begin to create annotated bibliography sheets for each book and/or journal article that you read during your undergraduate education. These sheets may be informative for you once you begin your graduate program and certainly formalizing a procedure where you create such a sheet for every reading will become extremely useful for you as you move through your graduate studies.
Although it does take time to create a sheet for something you have read, your annotated bibliography record sheets will save you considerable time in the future as you write reports and term papers.
The length of annotation usually is proportional to the pertinence of the source. At the minimum, there is a brief summary of the source, an examination of its credibility, and a complete bibliographic citation. However your working summaries are not full book reviews. They just highlight the key points that are most pertinent to the project you are working on, for example points related to your current literature review project. You will review your annotated record sheet entries several times as you are work through your projects. Each time, they will help you identify the sources you want to return to and reread to get more detailed information on a particular topic.
Set up a common structure that you will use for all sources. This will also make it easier to quickly locate key information. The amount of detail included in each category will vary with each source: most of the working sheets will be between half a page and a maximum of two pages. It is useful to have all the information for each citation (article, book, etc.) on a single sheet of paper. The process of creation of working annotated record sheets forces you to be more discriminating in what you include and it makes it easier to skim the annotations later.
Completing annotated bibliography record sheets for each and every source that you read a makes the creation of your research article or report and your final, formal annotated bibliography considerably easier.
For each of the published references that you utilize in construction of your working annotated bibliography record sheets you should provide the following information:
- Bibliographic Citation:
- A referenced citation properly formatted according to the guidelines of your specific discipline - for example, for Sociology use ASA style, for Psychology use APA style, etc.
- Make sure you include a complete bibliographic citation (if from the Internet include: website name, URL and date accessed). It is a waste of your time to have to relocate a source just to finish a citation. Place this citation at the top of the page -- like a header for the annotation.
- Tip: If the citation style for your discipline only requires the first initial of the author I strongly advise you to go ahead and record the information containing the entire name of each of the authors while you have access to it and place it into your working annotated bibliography record sheet. It is possible that you may want to write something utilizing a different citation style in the future, for example, a citation style that requires the full first names of the authors. If you capture first names you will never have to go back to relocate the source and you can always reduce the first names to the initials to create your formal annotated bibliographies in for a citation style that merely utilizes initials.
- Credibility of Source:
- It is important to include one or two sentences that relate to the credibility of the source of the text (publishing house or journal and information about the author).
- This section primarily focuses on the author(s): the highest degree of education and discipline(s), and his/her/their current institutional affiliation. Sometimes you may wish to also address his/her/their field(s) of expertise if he/she/they are well know for research in that area.
- The author’s information might be contained in the text, but if it is not, if the person is a faculty member you should be able to retrieve this information from the institutional website or their personal website, or you might access the information via the library reference desk’s materials about faculty in the USA.
- Also mention the credibility of the publication, for example is the source a: government publication, a peer reviewed journal article, a book from an academic press, a newspaper article, a government or an organizational website, or a self-published web-log (blog) or personal website, etc.
- Include a summary of the text and/or the research findings.
- Be sure that you include information regarding study dates (if relevant), data, research method(s), and theory (if relevant).
- It is important to include succinct comments that will quickly identify useful resources (with their locations [page numbers] within each source). The goal is to provide a summary that is easy to skim and will guide you back to appropriate sources as you work on various parts of your projects.
- An outline or bulleted format can be more efficient to skim than a paragraph format. It is much easier to quickly decide whether or not a particular source has applicable information.
- Although generally not included in a formal annotated bibliography, you may find it useful to include some comments in your working annotated bibliography record like: "this article is way over my head, but has a good list of definitions and theorems related to ..." "the author does a great job explaining complex ideas, including ... ," etc. Some of these personal, qualitative comments can be particularly useful when you are considering returning to the sources in the future.
- Usefulness and Usable Quotations:
- One paragraph that summarizes what this particular reading/text might be useful for and/or how it can be used as a reference in researching a specific topic.
- It maybe helpful here to mention page numbers for particularly strong quotes, for charts and graphs or important data, or to include a particularly useful short quote (with its location [page numbers] within each source) in this section.
The guidebook for anyone who wants to write well. The principles offered here help writers understand what readers expect and encourage writers to revise to meet those expectations more effectively. This book is all you need to understand the principles of effective writing.
The unrivaled resource for researchers at every level, from first-year undergraduates to research reporters at corporations and government offices. This book explains how to build an argument that motivates readers to accept a claim; how to anticipate the reservations of readers and to respond to them appropriately; and how to create introductions and conclusions that answer that most demanding question, “So what?”
You know the authors' names. You recognize the title. You've probably used this book yourself. A new Foreword by Roger Angell reminds readers that the advice of Strunk & White is as valuable today as when it was first offered. This book's unique tone, wit and charm have conveyed the principles of English style to millions of readers.
The book that demystifies academic writing, teaching students to frame their arguments in the larger context of what else has been said about their topic–and providing templates to help them make the key rhetorical moves.
This book includes a preliminary consideration of philosophical assumptions, a review of the literature, an assessment of the use of theory in research approaches, and reflections about the importance of writing and ethics in scholarly inquiry. John W. Creswell also presents the key elements of the research process, giving specific attention to each approach.
Drawing on her many years of personal experience as both a writer and a teacher, Julia Cameron describes a process of constant renewal, of starting from the beginning.
Dissertation writers need strong, practical advice, as well as someone to assure them that their struggles aren't unique. Joan Bolker, midwife to more than one hundred dissertations and co-founder of the Harvard Writing Center, offers invaluable suggestions for the graduate-student writer.
Wendy Laura Belcher offers a revolutionary approach to enabling academic authors to overcome their anxieties and produce the publications that are essential to succeeding in their fields.
This list of resources revises and expands a document that Aron Vallinder created a while ago. It contains articles and books to assist in your writing.
Dr. Alvaro Huerta holds a joint faculty appointment in Urban & Region Planning and Ethnic & Women's Studies at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He provides this list of resources to improve reading, writing, and research skills.
Conference Papers, Presentations and Networking
Claremont Graduate University provides the following descriptions of the types of conference papers you may do as a graduate student. Presentation types can differ among disciplines.
Paper with Respondent
In this type of presentation, a speaker gives a thirty-minute paper. A respondent then gives a fifteen-minute response to the paper. The speaker subsequently gives a fifteen-minute reply to the response.
Panel sessions include 3-4 speakers, each of whom talks for 15-20 minutes. Panels may also have a discussant who comments on the papers/presentations individually and as a group.
A roundtable features five or more speakers, each of whom talks for 5-10 minutes.
These sessions can vary in length from 90 minutes to one full day. Workshop presenters give short statements before involving the audience in some type of activity.
Poster/Poster Talk/Poster Presentation/Poster Discussion
All of these involve a visual presentation of ideas. Some presenters choose to display a 3- to 8-page paper that explains their project; others may post their hypothesis and an outline of their findings. The most eye-catching posters exhibit charts, graphs, photographs, or artwork.
Posters can be displayed for the length of the conference or for a single day.
Poster talks give the audience a chance to question the poster creator at a specified time.
Poster presentations feature 4-6 posters on a single theme displayed at a specific time. Each poster creator gives a short talk on his or her project.
Poster discussions also include 4-6 posters on a single theme displayed at a specific time. Conference-goers circulate around the room, questioning and collecting handouts from presenters. This type of presentation can also be called an interactive exhibit.
Attending a professional or scientific conference meeting is an important part of any student’s education; however, presenting at one is an even more valuable experience. But difficulty arises in getting an abstract accepted for presentation. This should not hinder your decision in submitting an abstract. These tips and guidelines will help you increase your chances of becoming a presenter.
Claremont Graduate University offers these guidelines for formulating and presenting a conference proposal or abstract.
Claremont Graduate University (CGU) offers these resources for finding a conference, preparing for papers for conferences in the humanities and social sciences, tips for for delivering conference papers, as well as tips for commentators/respondents.
This Instruction Manual prepared for the Society for Neuroscience Meeting in 2012 provides an overview of the importance of attending professional meetings, poster presentations, participation, and making your presentation.
Advice for giving a talk using PowerPoint - whether this is your first presentation or 100th.
The Chemistry department at the University of Virginia prepared this guide for preparing and presenting a scientific poster.
The Chemistry department at the University of Virginia prepared this guide for preparing and presenting a scientific talk.
Perspectives on History reprinted this essay from Chronicles of Higher Education published March 2008.
Using visual aids can make your presentations clearer and more interesting. But you have to use visual aids carefully. People have become bored by PowerPoint slides, so you have to work doubly hard to keep them interested. There are times when it’s best not to use PowerPoint [When Not to Use PowerPoint]. For those times when it is helpful, follow this tips.
Many technical experts make common mistakes when designing their PowerPoint slides. They put too much information on one slide. Their slides are poorly designed and crammed full of hard-to-understand graphics, and boring bullet points. This guide offers advice for preparing slides for an oral proposal.
Great visuals convey a powerful message about your ideas and your message, so it is important to get them right. This article looks at how to create slides that connect your audience with your message.
This guide aids speakers in achieving highly successful presentations and avoiding some common pitfalls when using visual aids.
Audience members expect to be educated, informed or persuaded during a presentation. Handouts aid in the recall of the information presented. This guide - complete with video, tips and a quiz - offers specific tips for using effective handouts.
This guide - complete with video, tips and a quiz - breaks down the types of visual aids that can be used in business presentation.
Penn State University provides this educational resource for presenters of engineering and science to assist with their technical presentations. Included are videos of presentations from students, faculty, and professionals in the fields of engineering and science. All videos of student talks are between 6 and 10 minutes long.
Top tips to help you break in on the conversations at academic conferences.
Professional association meetings are like Lays potato chips. You can’t eat just one. What I mean by this ridiculous statement is that the power of attending professional association meetings isn’t in just going once. The true value of these associations is going many times, for months and months or years and years.
Even with such easy access to information today, it still makes sense to go to conferences and trade shows. This article discusses seven reasons you need to get from behind your desk and join members of your professional organization.
This article discusses ways to improve your experience and get the most out of attending conferences.
Curriculum Vitae vs Resume - Not the Same Thing
The primary differences between and Curriculum Vitae (CV) and a resume are: length, content, purpose, and use.
- Typically two pages or more
- Academic summary, teaching and research experience, publications, presentations, awards, honors, affiliations, and basic resume inclusions of work, education and relevant work related skills
- Detailed documentation of your educational and academic background
- In Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, employers expect a CV for job applicants
- In the US a CV is used when applying for academic, education, scientific or research positions
- One page, sometimes two
- Name, contact information, education, work experience and relevant work-related skills
- Brief summary of your skills, experience, and education
- Applying for business, government, non-profit, and some industry positions
When preparing your Curriculum Vitae it is important to review your total universe of material prior to determining what to include, feature or omit. Use the table below to help during the review process.
Additional Class Projects
All other college studies
Pro Bono Work
When writing your CV, it’s important to be clear, concise, and consistent. Don’t write in a narrative form, or use first person singular pronouns. Use definite articles selectively. Use short sentences, phrases, and action words.
Dartmouth's guide to writing your CV discusses primary and supplementary materials to include when preparing your CV.
The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) provides an overview of strategies for writing an effective CV.
This 18-page guide, prepared by the Office of Intramural Training and Education (OITE), offers tips for resumes and CVs on the overall appearance, what sections should be included, accomplishment memory joggers, a list of action verbs, and samples for your review.
TotalJobs.com has compiled a list of top 10 hints on how to prepare a successful CV and get to the next phase: the interview.
Monster Jobs UK offers a new perspective on preparing a CV, believing you can combine a unique arty design with a conservative and clean format.
Jon Youshaei, a 2013 graduate of the Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business at Wharton School of Business, gives his six tips for a great resume for Forbes magazine.
Monster Jobs US provide insight into what recruiters and hiring managers are facing each time a job is posted, and offers a few easy tips to keep your resume short, sweet and successful.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Graduate Student Career and Professional Development Center has prepared this thorough guide covering resume sections, resume building skills, and formatting your resume.
Literacies for the Digital Age
Relational Databases (virtual workshop)
Cornell University presents this virtual workshop for designing databases and using SQL to create and access relational databases.
An Introduction to Linux (virtual workshop)
Cornell University presents this virtual workshop for the beginning Linux user, and possibly one who has not used Linux at all. This is not meant to be a replacement for a complete book on Linux, but merely to get the user acquainted with some of the basic principals of the Linux operating system.
From Microsoft Office and email to reading, math, and more, GCF Learn Free offers 125 tutorials, including more than 1,100 lessons, videos, and interactives, completely free. Below is a small sampling of their offerings.
Information Literacy is a distinct set of skills that gives us the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.
Lifehack provides these tips to show how you can use Google search to its full potential.
The Nation's online library for education and research in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics.
Created by Kathy Schrock, an educational technologist who develops presentations and has a passion for many subjects.
Cornell University Library offers five criteria for evaluating web resources.
Cornell University Library presents the Seven Steps of the Research Process, Critically Analyzing Information Sources, MLA and APA on-line Style Guides, and many other useful documents.
Lexis® Advance is so intuitive and easy to use that you may not need training. This document highlights 10 key features that you will want to know about to make your Lexis Advance experience even better.
A digital library provides eBook lending capabilities, much like lending a physical book, in addition to library management functionality.
Kathy Schrock has identified 13 literacies that students need to become well-rounded 21st-century citizens. Taught across content areas, the resources provided are vast.
LexisNexis® Tutorials (videos)
LexisNexis® provides three short video tutorials for using the system.
The U.S. Library of Congress offers this interactive online community for users to access information resources; some reading rooms have online chat capability.
The World Digital Library (WDL) is a project of the U.S. Library of Congress, carried out with the support of the United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO), and in cooperation with libraries, archives, museums, educational institutions, and international organizations from around the world. The WDL makes available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from all countries and cultures.
360 Degrees of Financial literacy is a national volunteer effort of the nation’s Certified Public Accountants. This site offers general information for managing personal finances and does not recommend specific financial actions.
CashCourse is your real-life guide to taking charge of your money. Their online personal finance tools help you build real-life-ready financial skills.
The IRS offers Tax Information for Students, from paying for college to first time filers.
The Official Social Security website provides information about Individual Development Accounts (IDA), how it helps your money grow, and who is eligible for one.
EducationPlanner.org offers ways to develop common sense about money and manage your money for long term success.
MoneyGeek has prepared this easy guide to budgeting. Budgeting is absolutely essential if you want to get out of debt and afford what’s really important (versus singlehandedly keeping your favorite retail store or coffee shop in business).
MoneyGeek has a Financial Literacy Handbook for all life stages. Making smart financial decisions is important whether you’re a high school student, a recent college graduate, a first-time homeowner or a midlife worker. But learning how to spend, save and invest wisely doesn’t have to be intimidating.
This site has practice sections and games on multiplication, division, addition, subtraction, square roots, rounding, and other arithmetic skills. This site will help you to improve your speed in solving these math problems and you can develop your own flash cards.
Beginning and Intermediate Algebra
This is one of the best math sites for Beginning and Intermediate Algebra. The lesson sections are divided into topic areas that provide practical solution steps.
This site has some elementary statistics information and problems.
This site has some information on geometry and elementary statistics.
This site has a list of math topics and a description on how to solve the problems. It offers over 2500 pages of math with explanations.
This is a very extensive site that has a detailed explanation on how to work math problems with drawing. The site is for students and instructors with helpful downloads.
This is a site dedicated to improving student learning in concepts of algebra, equations, inequalities, functions, graphs, and exponential and logarithmic functions.
Drexel University provides this math forum with questions and answers related to elementary through college level math concepts.
Shodor offers free online education tools relating to computational science. With over 100 interactive activities, you can explore many areas of mathematics and analyze data for scientific application. Also included is a dictionary of math terms encountered throughout the site.
Online Problem Solvers
This is a site that can solve your algebra, calculus and matrices problems with step-by-step solutions. The site also has products and services you can purchase but the Automatic Math Solutions calculator is free.
This site was developed for clinical researchers trying to determine how many subjects to include in your study or have other questions related to sample size or power calculations.
Other Support Sites
Wolfram Training Mathematica (archived webinars)
Wolfram Research is one of the world's most respected companies in the field of computer, web and cloud software. This site offers courses in Mathematica, and other computational fields.
This site is an interactive math dictionary with math terms, math formulas, math pictures, diagrams and tables to improve your understanding of math.
This is a math glossary site that has math terms covering everything from arithmetic to calculus. It is very easy to use and also has other resources.
This is a free site that let you print a verity of types of graph paper.
This is a virtual flash card site that you can make up your own flash cards or review flash cards that have already been developed.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Preparing for Fellowship and Scholarship Applications
- Begin building an academic record early
- Do your best in all your classes, this will help increase the likelihood of being awarded scholarships during your academic career
- Build a personal record as well
- Everyone has special talents and abilities, put yours to work out in the community through volunteering, employment or internships within the field you are interested
- Identify personal and academic weaknesses as early as possible in order to work to overcome them
- Seek guidance from counselors, instructors, mentors or tutors.
- Establish your career and educational goals
- The clearer you are on these goals, the easier it will be explaining them to others
- Search for fellowships and scholarships in your school’s library, financial aid offices, and on the internet
- Create a resume or curriculum vitae including your personal and educational accomplishments
- This is not a job description, list what you accomplished
- Create a list of all the fellowships and scholarships you qualify for including deadlines for the applications
- Get the funding application as soon as it is available
- Give yourself as much time as possible to put together a good application
- Build a network of peers, professors, and employers who are willing to write you a good letter of recommendation, proofread your essays and applications, and guide you through the scholarship application process
- When letters of reference are required, be sure to give people providing references adequate time to draft effective letters
A good letter of recommendation is priceless when applying for fellowships and scholarships. It shows that you have taken the time to cultivate a relationship with someone and gives the sponsor a chance to see someone else’s impression of your character.
When requesting a letter of recommendation, there are some simple guidelines to follow to ensure that you are able to get the best letter of recommendation possible.
- The person who is writing your letter should be someone who has a degree in the field you want to study and knows you.
- It is a good idea to ask someone who has seen your work or worked with you, generally an instructor or a professor. This way they will have experience to draw upon when writing your letter.
- Give your letter-writer ample time to write the letter; usually at least one month, at minimum two weeks.
- Make sure the letter-writer knows the due date for the letter, and follow up with the recommender to make sure that you meet that deadline.
- Provide the recommender with the URL for the fellowship or scholarship’s website.
- Give the letter-writer the application address of the scholarship you are applying for. Where there are multiple addresses on the form that is provided, highlight the address the letter should be sent.
- Make sure you tell the person writing the letter why you asked her or him to write this very important letter for you.
- Provide a copy of your resume or curriculum vitae, as well as your current transcripts. Highlight any classes taken from the recommender.
- Be sure to mention any specific accomplishments that you would like your letter writer to mention that may be pertinent to the fellowship or scholarship.
- In addition, be sure to inform the recommender of the outcome of the application
- The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can help you along the way to finding funding for your graduate studies
- The FAFSA application also helps determine your eligibility for federally funded student loan programs
- You cannot apply for funding from any higher education institution without it
- Be organized and apply early!
- Before you complete an application for a fellowship or scholarship, double check that you meet all the qualifying criteria
- Be sure to answer all questions on the application, do not leave anything blank!
- Scholarship applications are like job applications, be sure to fill required forms correctly and completely
- Be sure to include all required documents with your application; you do not want to be disqualified because you forgot to include one of the required documents
- Keep a copy of all documents associated with each scholarship to which you are applying
- Have a fellow student, professor, or mentor proof read your application and any additional documents required for the fellowship or scholarship to ensure the best possible presentation of self
- Send a “Thank You” card to everyone who helped you apply for your fellowship or scholarship, even if you were not awarded the funding
- This shows the other person that you appreciate and value the time that they gave you, and will help ensure their willingness to help you in the future
- Thank any sponsors of funding you are awarded
- This shows sponsors that their efforts are appreciated and will help encourage them to continue to sponsor education
- Scholarship application is a competitive process, use care and stay alert. If you were not selected in past years, review the steps outlined above, re-evaluate your application packet from the previous year, and reapply in the next application period.
- Take note of which organizations allow for repeat applications
- Also, seek feedback on ways to improve your application for the future
- If you were not selected as the recipient, see who was, and see if you can gain any tips on how to improve your application in the future
- Keep looking for fellowships and scholarships!
Applications for Fellowships, Scholarships & Grants
What the Proposal Reader is truly hoping for are proposals that are well written:
- The writer follows the exact format from the Request for Proposal (RFP) in setting up the sections of the
- The writer has carefully examined the RFP and provided a response for every item that is
- Essentially a large part of the reader’s job is to look for items that are missing from the proposal. If the item is missing from a section, the reader has to go searching through the document to find the item.
- If the item is not addressed in that particular section the reader has to take extra time to search the entire document looking for something that relates to the question that should have been answered in that section.
- Doing this several times in one proposal tires, and may annoy the reader and makes it more difficult for the reader to award the maximum number of points for that item.
- It is much easier for the reader to write a positive comment on the strengths of a complete section, and to just write “No weaknesses noted” if the writer has provided all of the requested information in each of the sections.
The Writer's Task is to Make the Proposal Reader's work as Easy as Possible:
- Make sure that you have followed the formatting instructions precisely. (If the RFP states that the narrative is 50 pages maximum and your narrative is 57 pages, the last 7 pages will not be read because they will not be distributed to the readers.)
- If the proposal is to be submitted on-line be sure to convert every document into a .pdf file, print it and recheck its look and then submit it. (I suggest this because sometimes transmission of documents in other file formats gets distorted and then when the reader prints them the nice tables and charts that you created loose their formatting and are almost impossible to read. A .pdf file will always print just the way you loaded it up.)
- If the RFP allows the writer to provide charts and tables in single line spacing and the narrative must be in double line spacing, do not just turn most of your narrative into tables to try to squeeze 80 or 90 pages into 50. That annoys the reader because it is an obvious writer’s tactic and increases the work load of the reader.
- Do use tables and charts to summarize important parts. They are particularly useful if the RFP calls for a time line for activities because that makes it easily apparent that a time line is provided when displayed in a table rather than in a narrative.
- Carefully label charts and tables and be sure that titles and/or references include the dates for the data or the dates covered in the research.
- Do provide citations/references to research or data that support your statements so that the reader can clearly discern where the data comes from. (For example: if using Census data, tell the reader that and be sure to include the year of the data.)
- Make sure that you have provided all of the items requested. For example if the RFP calls for letters of support from administrators and community members be sure that you have attached letters, and that the letters are from both types of categories required. (Yes, the readers DO read each and every letter searching for commitments.)
- Make sure that you have addressed every item discussed in the RFP in that exact section of the proposal. Often this requires the writer to use valuable page space to repeat something that the writer has said elsewhere in the proposal. Do not think that such repetition will anger the reader, because if the item should have been addressed in the section, but is not, the reader has to search the entire proposal to see if the writer did, in fact, provide that information elsewhere in the document.
- After writing your proposal give the RFP and the proposal to your in-house readers and have them look to see if they think that you have answered/addressed every item in each section.
- Most proposals require a budget narrative, (and the budget is generally the part that experienced readers start with.) Please do take the time and page space to provide a detailed narrative for each and every line item. For example: if requesting travel monies, tell the reader travel for whom, to where, and what for.
- For every single item in the budget narrative make sure that the writer has mentioned that item somewhere within the body of the proposal to provide justification for requesting that category in the budget, and then in the budget narrative get into detail. For example: in the proposal in the management section a writer would mention that the project director will have to travel to Washington, DC to attend the annual Director’s meeting and will have to travel to attend professional development training in order to stay current with the regulations. Then in the budget narrative state Travel for the Director, and then split out the cost of the trip to DC and the projected cost of travel to attend one professional development training session.
Remember to use file naming conventions, so YOURLASTNAME ACRONYMOFSCHOLARSHIP Scholarship Essay (or Personal Statement, or Academic Goals, or whatever the funding agency called the written task in their application form).
Adherence to proper naming conventions will help you to avoid mistakenly uploading an essay written for one place into another funding agency's application. This process is time consuming, but after you have written a few of these the rest are more a matter of slight modification, so just like when applying to graduate school programs the first applications are the most difficult and take the most time but the more of them you complete the easier and quicker the process becomes.
This webinar, provided by Pathways to Science, covers the typical components of STEM graduate fellowship applications, and provides tips on acquiring strong letters of recommendation and writing research and personal statements. It also includes information on fellowship review criteria and the mechanics of review panels.
Brown University shares tips to help you produce the kind of essays that will persuade a selection committee that they want to interview you or offer you a fellowship.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute offers this overview of writing personal statements and essays for fellowships and scholarships. Also included are links to sample essays and advice for nationally competitive fellowships.
Pomona College provides tips for getting started on a personal statement, including brainstorming exercises to jumpstart your writing.
Oregon's Office of Student Access and Completion (OSAC) provides information for writing personal statements and essays for OSAC scholarships.
Adapted from the a webinar provided by program directors form University of California Berkeley.
Knowing how to identify appropriate grants and fellowships, address all components of the application effectively, and maximize your chances for success can help ensure a generative experience, even if you do not ultimately obtain a grant or fellowship.
Prepare a Successful Fellowship Application (Timeline)
This guide, prepared by the University of Nebraska's Graduate Student Career and Professional Development center, gives you a sample timeline for a grant application that is due in November.