GRADUATE STUDENT CHALLENGES
Graduate students experience a similar transition to undergraduates since they are beginning a new degree, often at a new institution. However, the challenges they face are often very different.
In a survey completed in 2014, graduate students reported that some of their biggest challenges include:
- time management
- lack of support from a supervisor
- stress from uncertainty of graduation date
- stress from uncertainty of job opportunities.
In her analysis, the conductor of the survey groups the various challenges reported into one common theme: “graduate students are frustrated because they lack an organized support network.”
MENTORSHIP FOR GRADUATE STUDENTS
By connecting graduate students to one another and to young alumni, many universities have helped graduate students build an organized support network that helps them complete their degrees on time. Learning from other Masters and PhD students who have gone through similar challenges helps new students to stay motivated, informed, and on track.
Shearwater and Graduate Students
Shearwater partners with universities to help provide personalized support to graduate students at scale.
- Mentees might include an entire incoming class, or specific demographics the institution wants to support more thoroughly, including students within a specific major, students of color or international students.
- Common reasons that pairs are matched include being in the same department or having similar career goals or life challenges.
- Common topics of discussion include balancing work, school, and family, coping with stress, and finances.
- Common modes of communication among pairs include text-messaging, videochat, meeting in person, emailing.
Longy School of Music and Shearwater
Longy School of Music of Bard College partnered with Shearwater to support international students, roughly 40% of their student population. The focus of the program was on reducing melt and improving cultural acclimation of new graduate students.
The program had the following outcomes:
Participants were 12x less likely to melt (3% of participants melted & 36% of non-participants melted)
73% of international students participated
Student acclimation scores increased ~20% between each session
100% of students have strong relationships with their mentors
90% of students would recommend the program to others