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Here are some helpful things to know about ministering with graduate students during the New Student Outreach (NSO) season:
- It is difficult to meet Grad students through traditional NSO strategies like tabling. Instead, get to know the people who send emails to Grad students and submit a well-worded invitation to an NSO event (like a picnic) with a photo.
- Grad students and your Grad-student leaders don’t have time to come to several events. It is better to have a couple of high-quality events than a lot of small events.
- Try to follow up with each new grad student with someone from their department (or related field). InterVarsity staff or volunteers should also follow up with new grad students.
- Because Grad students are so busy, divide the leadership responsibilities (scripture facilitation, hospitality, and developing community outside the small group) among 2-4 leaders and/or members for each small group.
- Most Grad students get 2-weeks off a year. Be strategic about conferences and retreats. This may mean creating shorter retreats, like 24 hours instead of the whole weekend.
- Many Grad students feel obligated to be workaholics. Their departments often demand their total availability. Serve these students by going to them and adjusting your work to their schedule.
- Many Grad students want connections inside and outside their departments. Create opportunities for cross-departmental connection.
- Create opportunities for students to share their work. Create opportunities for students to reflect and share how their work and faith goes together.
- Most grad students don’t have much or any experience with InterVarsity or other campus ministries. Do not assume familiarity with campus ministry.
- Give books away often!
Learn more about Ministry with Graduate Students