Most students going into grad school assume their experience will be more or less like their undergrad experience. Maybe it will be a little more challenging and there will be fewer dorm pranks, but it’s still just like a slightly more mature college experience, right?

Guess again. Graduate school is actually a very different animal, and the sooner you’re clear on the differences, the more equipped you’ll be to succeed.

###Classes

Undergraduate

You do a lot of work outside of class, but the classroom is the nucleus of your studies.

Graduate

Your coursework is mostly there as a foundation for your own study beyond the classroom.

###Campuse Life

Undergraduate

Your campus is your entire world. You may venture out, but you’re largely tethered to it.

Graduate

You’re in the campus, but you’re not of it. One exception: the library.

###Structure

Undergraduate

Your education is more or less mapped out for you from your freshman year on.

Graduate

You’ll have a structure to your grad school career—but you’ll determine what it looks like.

###Professors

Undergraduate

Your professor is basically your boss.

Graduate

Your professor is more like a mentor who can affirm your independent study.