Grad Students Should Find a Faculty Advisor as soon as Possible

Grad Students Should Find a Faculty Advisor as soon as Possible

Individuals attending graduate school at the University of California, Merced need to find a faculty advisor immediately upon entering the program. In fact, experts often recommend speaking to an advisor when they are first thinking about applying. Advisors become of great help in navigating the admissions process all the way through to graduation and beyond. How should a person go about selecting an advisor to help them? 

Identify Prospects

Students find they have several ways to identify potential faculty advisors. One way to do so involves working with faculty members during the undergraduate years. Students should look for those advisors in the field they wish to pursue and attempt to work with them in some capacity to ensure their personalities work well together. 

Meet with Potential Advisors 

Once the field has been narrowed to those individuals with similar interests, a prospective student should reach out to potential advisors before applying at Prospective students should discuss a potential advisor’s published papers and other work. They should also talk to them about their goals and see if they believe they can be of assistance when it comes to achieving them. Prospective students should be able to list skills they have that will benefit the faculty and their work in labs and research. 


Good advisors at the University of California, Merced possess mentoring skills. They must be willing to share what they know and guide students in the right direction. Some people are very good at this, while others struggle. It’s up to the student to determine which category a potential advisor falls into. If possible, the student should speak to other students that have been mentored in the past to learn more about the types of support provided by the faculty. It’s beneficial to have someone with published works, research, and more, but guidance is of great value during the process as well. 

Ask Questions

It’s important to spend time talking to the mentor to learn more about them. Never assume anything when choosing an advisor. This ensures they fulfill the established criteria and that both parties are on the same page. Furthermore, this is an excellent time to learn whether they will be of assistance or push their goals on you. Students want to know this before they choose where to apply for graduate school.

Seek Outside Help

If the faculty advisor at doesn’t meet the needs of a student for any reason once the choice has been made, they should seek outside help. Students have access to a range of resources during graduate school and should make the most of them. For example, they could talk with someone from the thesis committee if additional help is needed in their area of expertise or speak with other graduate students who may be having similar challenges. They might have the solution to a problem the student is experiencing. 

It’s important to spend time searching for a faculty advisor. Doing so early in their educational career to get a person who will be of great assistance in helping students achieve their goals. This ensures they get the best education possible. 

About University of Merced Graduate Division:

The University of Merced Graduate Division functions to serve the graduate student body from the student’s first day on campus until they graduate and beyond. Whether a person is considering applying to graduate school, needs help with a fellowship application, or has questions about a program, the team is ready to help.

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