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All About You (Almost)

Who you choose as an adviser for your graduate studies can color your graduate experience as well as influence your career after you graduate.

"When it’s forged and maintained in the right way, this tie turns into a lifelong, productive, ever-evolving relationship of mutually rewarding collegiality. It often levels off into a friendship between peers," writes Leonard Cassuto, an English professor at Fordham University, at the Chronicle of Higher Education.

"When it goes bad, though, the relationship can breed anger, resentment, bitterness, and an unfulfillment that extends far beyond graduate school itself," he adds.

In looking for an adviser, Cassuto suggests searching for a faculty member who seems interested in your career and what you want to do. You don't, he notes, want to have to "run on someone else’s hamster wheel" or be just one of someone's collection of graduate students. Along the way, he notes, the relationship between student and adviser evolves, so there also needs to be open lines of communication.

"Good advisers collaborate with their graduate students, but that collaboration has only one appropriate goal: It needs to be about you, and furthering your work and career," he says.