Books about graduate school abound. How do you sort through the mass? You'll find books on how to choose a grad school, apply to grad school, prepare essays, and survive grad school. Your first step is to figure out what kind of book you need. Once you've decided on your angle of interest, determine whether the book is right for you by examining the author's credentials and the table of contents.
Applying to Graduate School
Look for chapters on deciding whether graduate school is for you, locating resources and getting information about programs, and choosing programs. Look for detailed information about the application process: the timetable, completing paperwork, writing admissions essays, gaining letters of recommendation, the interview, and how to improve your chances of admission.
Surviving Graduate School
Graduate school is intense; books that provide advice on how to survive and succeed must cover more than academics. Look for chapters on selecting a mentor, dealing with faculty, balancing coursework and other responsibilities, politics and social aspects of grad school, dealing with stress, comprehensive exams, organization, dissertation committees, conducting research, and thesis writing.
Is the Author Credible?Can the author provide advice about graduate school? Examine the author's biography (you can find this in the inside cover or on the back of the book). What are the author's credentials? Has he or she attended graduate school? Is the author a professor? Does the author have experience with helping students gain admission and succeed in grad school?
Is it Comprehensive?Read through the table of contents. Do the chapters cover topics that you're interested in? Does it appear to answer your questions? Are there issues that aren't covered (e.g., issues for women, minorities, and international students)?