Top 10 Survival Tips for Ed.D. Students (A list compiled by current students and recent graduates
Understand Why You Are Becoming a Doctoral Student.When entering the Ed.D. program, clearly understand why you have chosen to pursue a doctorate and remember your reasons. Also, think about the types of experiences you would like to have as a doctoral student. Determine what needs to happen during your doctoral program for you to successfully accomplish your professional goals.
Do Not Fear Statistics. Take statistics early in your doctoral program and begin to use the information. Consider taking more than the two required statistics courses. The statistics courses will help you develop your methodology and results sections of your dissertation.
Paperwork, Paperwork, Paperwork. There is no shortage of paperwork to submit in your doctoral program. Be sure to know what forms must be completed, when they are due, and to whom to submit them. Be patient with the paperwork process.
Prepare Early for Comprehensive Exams. Keep all of your textbooks and compile all of your class materials (i.e. notes and handouts) from each course to be better prepared for comprehensive exams. Your organization and thoroughness will prove to be invaluable.
Choose Your Dissertation Committee Wisely.Forming your dissertation committee will be one of the most important decisions you ever make. Get to know the Ed.D. professors and other faculty early in your program and familiarize yourself with their respective research interests.
You Are Not Alone. Insert yourself immediately into the community of fellow graduate students and build a peer group. Your peer group will provide you with not only an exchange of information, but also support and encouragement.
Begin Thinking About Your Research Interests. Start thinking about your internship possibilities and dissertation topic early in the program. Write as many papers about your chosen research area in your courses to help build your dissertation literature review. Additionally, really learn the APA style. Read the manual and visit some of the many APA resource websites.
Communicate with Your Advisor. Maintain constant communication with your advisor. Meet with him or her as often as you can during each semester. Work closely with your advisor to ensure that all doctoral requirements are met in a timely manner and to stay informed of new information concerning forms, deadlines, and opportunities.
Hang in There and Do Not Give Up! Be sure to take care of yourself mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Being a doctoral student can be very stressful and overwhelming at times, especially when you are learning to balance your family, career, and academic obligations. But know that you are not alone in this. You have a built-in support system of peers and faculty to assist you in your journey.
And the #1 Survival Tip for Ed.D. Students is… Know Michelle Smith Very Well! She is extremely knowledgeable about the program and is a great resource!