Applying to Graduate School
Getting into graduate or professional school requires some time and planning. Use the list below to set a personal timeline. Before you know it, you'll be on your way to earning your advanced degree.
- Establish your goal(s) for attending graduate or professional school before you do anything else. If your goals are career-oriented, determine what you enjoy doing and see how graduate or professional school can help you do just that.
- Look at available career options. Determine what career is right for you based on your undergraduate work, personal interests and personal experiences.
Start looking for graduate or professional programs in different graduate or professional schools' brochures, catalogs and Web sites.
- Early in your academic career, establish good working relationships with your professors, teaching assistants and other faculty members. Talk with them about graduate or professional school. Tell them about your goals and ask them about available programs and for recommendations.
- Research which standardized test(s) you need to take for the particular type of study you plan to do. Look up deadlines and fees for the test(s) you need to take and register as soon as you can. Mark your calendar so you remember to take the test(s) you signed up for.
- Ask different people if they'd be willing to write letters of recommendation. Getting professors to write the letters is ideal since they are familiar with the process and know for what graduate or professional schools are looking. Be sure that those people writing the letters have enough information from you, including information about you that you'd like to have included. Plus, provide them with clear directions from the graduate or professional schools to which you're applying. Be prepared with three letters from three different people.
- Determine the graduate or professional schools to which you'd like to apply. Request any required materials/information from the schools' admissions offices or Web sites, and find out deadlines for applying.
- Prepare yourself financially. Determine the types of financial aid that are available and for which you may qualify. Plan your application process wisely, based on the different financial aid programs' deadlines.
- Prepare a statement of interest. Include a personal story and/or personal interests and goals in the statement, along with information alluding to your understanding of the particular graduate or professional school's program to which you are applying.
- Request that transcripts from your undergraduate college be sent to your graduate and/or professional schools of choice.
- Fully complete all your applications. Keep copies for your own records.
- Make sure all your letters of recommendation are completed. Visit the graduate or professional schools you are interested in attending. Get a good feel for each school and evaluate your comfort level and the availability of resources.
- Submit your applications as soon as they are completed. Be aware of the different deadlines for each school and try to get the applications submitted early.