1. How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing
By Paul J. Silvia
In this popular guidebook, Paul J. Silvia prepares the reader for the significant amount of writing required in graduate school.
“How to Write a Lot” (2018) addresses how to overcome bad habits and writer’s block. The book gives you practical strategies to become a stronger writer and researcher.
2. A Field Guide to Grad School: Uncovering the Hidden Curriculum (Skills for Scholars)
By Jessica McCrory Calarco
This book is a great resource for the academic soft skills most programs expect grad students to have. “A Field Guide to Grad School” (2020) covers the basic academic subjects like writing and research.
More importantly, the book covers how to apply to a program, select an advisor, and benefit from conferences. It also addresses how to network and navigate the job market. The book even gives tips on how to balance work, life, and grad school.
3. Graduate Admissions Essays, Fourth Edition: Write Your Way into the Graduate School of Your Choice
By Donald Asher
The updated “Graduate Admissions Essays” (2012) is the quintessential guide for crafting successful essays for scholarships and graduate school programs.
Whether you are seeking to earn a master’s, MBA, or JD degree, or are seeking funding to become a Fulbright Scholar, this book contains 50 sample essays with detailed strategies you can apply to your writing.
4. Getting What You Came For: The Smart Student’s Guide to Earning an M.A. or a Ph.D.
By Robert Peters
“Getting What You Came For” (1997) first begins by helping the reader decide if graduate school is right for them, and if they should pursue a master’s or Ph.D. Every chapter gives tips on the application process and how to deal with politics in academia.
This classic guide has been revised and reprinted with great resources and information carefully curated from academic counselors, graduate students, and professors.
5. The Dissertation Warrior: The Ultimate Guide to Being the Kind of Person Who Finishes a Doctoral Dissertation or Thesis
By Guy E.White
In Guy White’s “The Dissertation Warrior” (2017), he helps students think through the completion of their dissertation. This book does not contain quick and easy tips for completing a dissertation, rather it provides skills you can develop to grow your writing craft in the long term.
White guides you through one of the most challenging parts of the dissertation, the introduction, as well as other pitfalls that often derail dissertations.
6. The Women’s Guide to Surviving Graduate School
By Barbara Rittner
Written by Barbara Rittner, this book provides practical advice for women seeking to attend graduate programs in the United States and Canada.
“The Women’s Guide to Surviving Graduate School” (1997) gives great tips on schools who focus on recruiting women. It also discusses how gender factors into the admissions process.
7. Playing the Game: The Streetsmart Guide to Graduate School
By Frederick Frank and Karl Stein
Frank and Stein, both having graduated from famous graduate schools, give readers advice in “Playing the Game: The Streetsmart Guide to Graduate School” (2004). Written with a bit of sass, the advice is not what you would find in your typical grad school guide.
This book gets down to the basics and is divided into three parts: getting in, getting through, and getting out of graduate school. The authors break down the complex process into everyday language and pair it with personal, funny anecdotes.
8. Even A Geek Can Speak
By Joey Asher
Asher’s book “Even A Geek Can Speak” (2006) states that with our dependence on the digital world, many people have lost the art of public speaking. Asher teaches the average nerd how to convey complex ideas in a way that successfully connects with their audience.
Even though it’s not specifically designed for graduate students, this book can help them refine their presentation skills, which are needed in most advanced fields.