If you decide that graduate school is necessary to further your career path, use our Graduate School Timeline to help you complete steps in the application process. Remember to start preparing for graduate school early in your undergraduate career. At a minimum, you should begin gathering materials for your application one year before you plan to attend graduate school.
When completing the application process, schedule an appointment with a Career Advisor to create a timeline, review your resume/C.V., and edit your personal statement.
Depending on the program, graduate schools require specific entrance exams. The following are the most common required exams:
You can prepare by buying test preparation books and/or flashcards, signing up for a classroom course, and/or completing one-on-one tutoring. Kaplan and Princeton Review are test preparation resources that can assist you in any of these ways. In addition, the company that publishes each test creates preparation materials. Regardless of which resource you use to prepare, it is advisable to take practice tests to simulate test day.
Your personal statement is an important facet of the application and an opportunity to present yourself to the admissions committee. Articulate your professional goals, your interest in the specific school’s program, and your work, volunteer, and educational experiences that led you to pursue an advanced degree in the field. Contact a career advisor to review your personal statement. Faculty are another resource that can assist you with revisions. You also may wish to share your personal statement with the people who write your letters of recommendation, so they are aware of your reasons for obtaining an advanced degree.
For assistance brainstorming and writing your personal statement, view our Graduate School Personal Statement Guide.
Before requesting letters of recommendation, select 3-5 people who know you well enough to write a strong recommendation. Faculty, club advisors, volunteer supervisors, work/intern supervisors, and student affairs staff are some people who could serve as references. Once you decide on 3-5 people, ask the references in person if they could provide you with a strong recommendation letter. If they oblige follow-up with an email that gives an overview of your conversation. Also, provide your references with the following materials: