Information for Graduate Students
As a graduate student, you are likely facing new academic challenges. The ideas about which you are reading, thinking, and writing are becoming increasingly complex, yet you need to find clear, concise, and engaging ways to express them. You are shifting from a focus on consuming information to a focus on producing and disseminating new knowledge and insights. You are expected to be fluent in the conventions of your discipline and to produce work that is free of grammatical and spelling errors.
Academic Skills works closely with graduate students to help them develop as scholars and writers as well as teaching assistants. We hope that you will take advantage of the many services that we can offer you.
- Services for Graduate Students
- Three Minute Thesis
- Services for Teaching Assistants
Graduate students are welcome to book a free, confidential one-on-one appointment with an Academic Skills instructor.
Synchronous video, in-person, and asynchronous appointments are available to book in the Student Experience Portal.
You can book a free and confidential appointment to discuss any aspect of your writing. Academic Skills instructors can help you organize your ideas, outline, or upgrade your grammar skills. They can also look at partial drafts and comment on grammar, organization, and clarity.
Time Management for Graduate Students
Graduate work often involves long-term research and writing projects that have few check points along the way. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of what you need to accomplish and, as a result, to procrastinate your work. You can book an appointment with an Academic Skills Instructor to discuss time management problems and to create a project plan that will work for you.
Grant Applications and Personal Statements
Academic Skills provides several resources to help you as you write graduate school or grant applications. Academic Skills is not an editing or proofreading service, but our instructors can comment on the strength and clarity of your writing and organization.
We also work with the Career Centre to offer "Apply Yourself: Writing the Graduate School Personal Statement," a workshop that provides advice on what to include in personal statements as well as how to write them.
Do you feel motivated to write when in the presence of others? Do you want to find a new location to spend some time writing? Do you get distracted at home?
Come to Scott House at Traill College on Tuesday mornings to meet fellow graduate students and like-minded people. Every Tuesday during the summer starting on June 7 from 10 am to noon you can use the space to further your writing project. This is a great opportunity to use the beautiful spaces in Scott House – the casual space of the Junior Common Room, the study carrels in the main study room, and the dedicated graduate student study room. Indoor spaces are air conditioned and the WIFI is strong. You could work outside as well. We will put the coffee on!
These are drop-in sessions with no need to register.
- Tuesdays from 10 am to noon
- Starts June 7
- Scott House, Traill College
Calling all Trent graduate students who are planning to work on their course work, MRP, thesis, or dissertation over the summer of 2022. Join your fellow graduate students and learn how to increase productivity as you progress with your writing.
The Writing Retreat will take place in person and virtually from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm on Monday May 9, Tuesday, May 10, and Wednesday, May 11.
This is a hybrid event. You can access the virtual Writing Retreat, held via Zoom, in the comfort of your own home or you can attend in-person at Bagnani Hall and Scott House of Traill College.
We will be modelling daily writing processes to promote effective and efficient writing strategies. Each day will begin with a brief workshop on a writing-related issue. Academic Skills instructors will be available to meet students individually (via Zoom) to discuss writing projects and to create their own writing goals. During breaks, we will offer activities to promote physical and mental wellness. We will wrap up by reviewing daily goals and preparing for the next day's writing.
New this year: Trent librarians are offering two workshops during the Writing Retreat on topics of interest to graduate students. This is a great opportunity to improve your research skills under the guidance of the experts!
You may register for one day or all three days.
This free event for Trent Graduate students is sponsored by Academic Skills and Traill College.
Workshops will be presented synchronously via Zoom. An Academic Skills instructor will present the workshops.
Winter Workshop Titles
- Grammar for Grad Students
- Have you ever received feedback and you are not even sure what it means? What is a comma splice anyway? Then this workshop is for you! We will delve into the mysteries of English grammar to help you edit and improve your writing. We will consider topics such as: sentence structure, punctuation, subject-verb agreement, modifiers, active and passive voice, and parallel structure.
- Writing about Quantitative Data for Grad Students
- Are you planning on including quantitative data in your research project? Then this workshop was created for you! We will discuss how to organize your analysis for quantitative data, how to write about statistics, the best methods to visually present your data, and how to refer to figures in your writing. We will conclude with a discussion of how to explain your findings in the results and discussion section of your thesis.
- Writing about Qualitative Data for Grad Students
- Are you planning on including qualitative data in your research project? Then this workshop was created for you! We will discuss how to organize your analysis of qualitative data, the process of analysis, a discussion of NVivo analytic software, how to create and write about themes, the best methods to visually present your data, and how to refer to figures in your writing. We will conclude with a discussion of how to explain your findings in your thesis.
- Survival Strategies for your Thesis Defence
- This workshop will help graduate students understand the thesis defense process by demystifying the presentation, question period, and evaluation processes. We will discuss your thesis talk, including knowing your audience, explaining the rationale for your research, and telling your research story. We will provide strategies to handle the question period and some general survival tips.
Fall Workshop Titles
- Time Management for Grad Students
- This workshop will help graduate students balance competing pressures and commitments for their time from a variety of sources, such as research or course work, teaching commitments, university obligations, and personal life. This is particularly important with remote learning. Through the establishment of long- and short-term goals, the process of conquering the workload will become more manageable.
- Managing the Graduate Reading Load
- This workshop will help graduate students understand the goals of graduate reading, the key challenges of reading large volumes of text, the process of reading, and methods to deal with the graduate reading load effectively and efficiently. We will discuss note-taking strategies and some of the common pitfalls of graduate reading.
- Strong Writing for Grad Students
- This workshop will explore principles of strong writing to achieve progress on many written assignments from course-based writing to research proposals and thesis writing. We will explore the writing process as an aid in clarifying the thought process. We will discuss style and flow in writing, the needs of the reader, and the basis of strong writing, the paragraph.
The graduate student writing group will help to develop writers with tips to improve their writing as well as create a community of writers to encourage and celebrate achievements of writing.
Please register in the Events Calendar on the Student Experience Portal
Meet weekly – Monday mornings (Please note that there are 2 Tuesdays in the schedule) – Zoom meetings 10:30 – 11:30 am
Writing tip of the week – 15 minutes
Motivational topic – 15 minutes
Discussion: Goal setting – 30 minutes
Graduate students will be encouraged to set realistic writing goals on a weekly basis to monitor their progress and to maintain momentum with their writing. The progress reporting will be a personal assessment followed by a discussion of progress as a group.
Dates for Motivation Mondays
- Week 1: May 16
- Pre-writing strategies: Organizing your ideas
- Goal setting
- Week 2: Tuesday, May 24
- Using your outline to manage time
- How to build momentum: 5 steps
- Week 3: May 30
- Focusing literature reviews
- The motivation equation
- Week 4: June 6
- Reducing wordiness
- Blocking your time to write
- Week 5: June 13
- Integrating evidence
- Imposter syndrome
- Week 6: June 20
- Typical moves in a research paper
- Overcoming academic perfectionism
- Week 7: June 27
- Paragraph structures
- Stress and burnout in Graduate students
- Week 8: Tuesday, July 5
- Creating cohesion
- 5 ways to stop negative self-talk
- Week 9: July 11
- Using passive and active voice
- Impulsivity and distraction
- Week 10: July 18
- Revision strategies: Higher order concerns
- Celebrate your progress
An online resource for graduate students developed by Academic Skills that contains a wealth of information geared to writing at the graduate level. Topics include narrowing a topic, literature reviews, revision strategies, and motivation and procrastination. This site is available to all graduate students who have registered for a workshop or who have signed up for Motivation Mondays.
As a teaching assistant, you can refer students to Academic Skills for help with their math, reading, listening, writing, and grammar skills. Referrals can be made either by emailing email@example.com (please cc the student on the email) or by providing students with information about our services. Students can book appointments directly at www.trentu.ca/sep