Graduate Student Academic Success Workshop Series

The overarching aim of this slate of workshops is to equip graduate students with skills, strategies, and tools which will help them meet the new expectations and demands of graduate education at Princeton and foster their development as productive and purposeful students and scholars. Graduate training makes new demands on students with respect to mastering content, to be sure, but it also offers opportunities to further develop skills of managing time and energy, planning large research projects, writing and publishing, collaborating effectively, achieving a balanced lifestyle, and a host of other skills that are not taught explicitly. These practical, hands-on workshops will address these untaught, but essential areas of development so that Princeton graduate students can achieve their goals with less stress and greater efficiency. 

Princeton Students can meet with a McGraw Center Learning Strategies Consultant to work on any of these topics. Daytime, evening, and weekend appointments are available.

Navigating Graduate Education in the United States

The Davis International Center, the Graduate School, and the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning have partnered to offer a three-session series entitled, “Navigating Graduate Education in the United States” to our international graduate students. The series is designed to assist first and second-year international graduate students in their transition from undergraduate training to the graduate education system here at Princeton, and to address the most common issues that international graduate students encounter during their enrollment. Please note that these sessions cannot be applied toward the Teaching Transcript pedagogy workshop requirement or the AI Orientation make-up.

Things I Wish I Knew – Tales from Current International Graduate Students

Wednesday, October 24, 5:00-6: 30 p.m., Julis Romo Rabinowitz Building
RSVP to reserve your seat. 

Do you want to hear seasoned international graduate student tales about graduate school and student life? What did they learn through trial and error? Things that they wish they knew when they were first and second-year students? Then join us for a conversation, coffee, and cookies.

Navigating the U.S. Classroom for International Graduate Students

Thursday, November 29, 12:00 – 1:20 p.m., McGraw Center, 330 Frist Campus Center
RSVP to reserve your seat.

Do you sometimes leave your classes feeling confused about how your peers interact with professors or each other? Do you wonder whether or how to “participate” and ask questions? Are you unfamiliar with collaborating on group projects and assignments? This session will explore common teaching and learning practices in American higher education classrooms, with the goal of helping you to make sense of and participate in classes in a more comfortable, productive, and engaged way. Please join us for lunch and conversation. 

Effective Communication with Advisers and Faculty

Wednesday, December 19, 5:00 – 6:00 p.m., Graduate College Coffee House
RSVP to reserve your seat.

Ever wish you could get feedback or direction on a research or advising conversation that hasn’t gone the way you expected?  Well here’s your chance!  This session will focus on providing answers to your questions about how to navigate conversations with your faculty advisers and practical steps you can take to make sure you’re more effectively communicating with your adviser.


Fall 2018 Academic Success Workshops

Please note that these sessions cannot be applied toward the Teaching Transcript pedagogy workshop requirement or the AI Orientation make-up.

Reframing “Time Management” to Achieve Your Goals

Friday, November 30, 12:00 -1:20 p.m., 329 Frist Campus Center
RSVP to reserve a seat. Lunch will be provided.

In this workshop for graduate students across disciplines, we will explore how you currently use your time, as well as common “time sinks” and prioritization challenges. Next, we will discuss alternative ways to conceive of “time management,” ending with skills and strategies to effectively change your behaviors and achieve your goals.  The passing of time is beyond our control, but how we utilize the hours we have is within our control.

Previously held Academic Success Workshops

Advanced Reading Strategies: Efficient Reading of Scholarly Research

Many graduate students and post-docs are challenged by the duration and difficulty of academic reading. Fortunately, there are straightforward ways to increase the efficiency with which you identify, locate, and evaluate relevant information. In this workshop, you will learn how to:

  • Identify and troubleshoot the many non-reading hindrances to efficient reading
  • Sharply define the objectives for the reading task at hand to increase your efficiency
  • Maintain strong focus as you hunt through difficult, “unfriendly" text

Building an Effective Working Relationship with your Advisor

In this workshop, we will help you develop skills to build and maintain a productive working relationship with your adviser(s). We will consider what you want and expect from your adviser and we will discuss best practices for meeting those expectations.

Feedback: Back to Basics

In this lunchtime workshop for graduate students across disciplines, you and your peers will learn how to give constructive feedback to classmates, colleagues, lab-mates, and assistants; gracefully hear and implement feedback from others; and ask your peers (and advisor!) for useful and timely feedback on your own scholarship.  You’ll practice simple strategies to conquer the anxiety that can often come with “critique,” and will leave armed with tips and tools to give, receive, and elicit feedback positively, productively, and with purpose. Pizza will be provided.

Finish Summer Satisfied: Planning and Scheduling to Keep You On Track

The purpose of this workshop is to help you plan realistically for a balanced, productive summer. To plan effectively, it helps to realize the particular challenges of summer productivity. The first part of this workshop is about raising awareness of the challenges of summer. You’ll have a chance to identify challenges particular to you. The second part is the nitty-gritty. You will actually focus on a major academic goal, break it down, and plan it out.

Grad School: It’s Different!

In this lunchtime workshop for new graduate students across disciplines, you and your peers will explore what makes graduate school unique from other learning experiences, and why these differences are important to identify and address early. Next, you’ll reflect on the personal strengths and resources you bring to Princeton, as well as areas for growth and development during your time here. With these insights, you will leave better prepared to access supports available on campus to help you meet your goals and thrive.

Master Your Motivation: Understanding and Overcoming Procrastination

Your tendency to procrastinate on complex, ambiguous graduate projects despite the stress and inefficiency this causes you is both understandable and reducible. In this workshop you will:

  • Better understand how and why you procrastinate
  • Identify and organize objectives and their required actions
  • Schedule and structure tasks to reduce stress and promote consistent action
  • Leverage social and tech tools to augment your strengths and get work done

Sticking To Your Plans: Core Motivational Tools For Executing Research And Writing Plans

Graduate students and post-docs often formulate plans for getting their work done but face difficulties following through on their plans. This workshop will equip you with key techniques for managing your motivation to execute your work as planned and thus reduce stress and increase your satisfaction. After this workshop, you will have a deeper practical understanding of procrastination and motivation concretized into a single worksheet that provides:

  • Your clearly articulated goals and schedule of work to focus and fire your productivity
  • A brief, personalized set of strategies for reducing procrastination
  • A unique tool for monitoring and rewarding your progress

Time Mastery: Cutting Overwhelm w/Google Calendar

Sometimes feel overwhelmed by all of your demands? Are you missing out on opportunities? Use Google Calendar as an “external mind” to capture all your tasks, minimize stress, and free your mind for your academic work. Build on what you know about Google Calendar to maximize its usefulness while also learning innovative strategies for calendaring and planning, such as:

  • Using a calendar as part of an "external mind" to ease stress, pursue goals and make effective decisions
  • Planning in accordance with your current patterns of behavior (sleep, work, etc.)
  • Distinguishing realistic and optimistic planning
  • Collecting self-data and revising accordingly for more effective planning



Do you have suggestions about topics or issues for the McGraw Center Programming? Email your ideas to