b'(8) Providing ongoing encouragement and support Most students experience bouts of insecurity and anxiety at some time. It is important to help them recognize that this is normal. Since you most likely experienced similar low points in graduate school yourself and clearly made it through successfully, you can provide ongoing encouragement. Faculty can instill confidence by telling students when they are doing a good job and helping them build the knowledge and skills they need to do their work well. Encourage your students to follow their interests and support them through the fleshing-out of incipient ideas that may or may not end up at the center of future research projects. Students should have the freedom to choose their research interests and receive the support they need regardless of how those interests relate to those of their mentors. (9) Being responsive to the needs of a diverse student body Retention of minority studentsthose who belong to a group that experiences prejudice, stigma or discriminationpresents the greatest challenge to increasing overall graduate student retention rates, because these students are the least likely to complete their graduate degrees. Graduate school is difficult for all students, but it is often more so for students who face obstacles that arise due to differences in race, sexual orientation, gender, disability, age and socio-economic background. The following suggestions can make you more aware and sensitive to this issue:Helping Students Balance Stress82'