Applying to Grad School
develop your plan, including a timeline, to increase your odds of success.
You’ve made the decision to attend graduate school! Now it is time to think about
which program and institution are right for you, prepare for any potential
exams, and gather your application materials.
To dis cuss your career goals and plans for graduate school, schedule a session with a CCD team member via Handshake .
How to Identify the Right Institution and Program Fit
Beyond finding programs with high rankings and reputations, you want to identify programs that will provide you with the education and skills you need to be successful in your future career.
Key Areas to Research
Begin with a large list of 10-20 schools and use the above criteria to research and narrow your search. Once you begin to narrow your search down, it might be helpful to talk with your current faculty about graduate programs they are familiar with and try to contact students who are either currently or were enrolled in your programs of interest.
- Teaching Philosophy
- Research vs. Theory Based
- Course Offerings
- Faculty Research Areas
Cost and Financial Aid
- Tuition & Fees
- Available Assistantships
- Existing Undergraduate Loans
- Specific GPA Requirements
- Standardized tests scores such as GRE, LSAT, GMAT, etc.
The application process can be long and time consuming. Make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to complete all the necessary application steps. The timeline below, provided by NACE, provides a broad overview of which semesters you should focus on different stages of the application process.
- Work on pulling up any grades that may be affecting your GPA
- Research institutions and programs that interest you
- Schedule any entrance exams – easier to complete during your junior year so that you can use your senior year to complete application documents
Summer Before Senior Year
Obtain internship or volunteer experience to gain professional experience in your field
Fall of Senior Year
- Request transcripts from your undergraduate institution and other institutions where you may have completed study abroad or have transfer credits from
- Contact supervisors or professors you would like to serve as references for you and explain what your program requires of them, whether a letter of recommendation or just their contact information
- Schedule entrance exams if you have not completed them yet or want to strive for higher scores
- Complete graduate school applications and application documents such as resumes, personal statements, etc.
- Plan additional time to make an appointment at the Center for Career Development to have your resume, personal statement, or other documents reviewed before submitting
- Strive to fully submit all pieces of your application before spring semester
Spring of Senior Year
- Receive acceptance letters and potentially visit or revisit your top choices
- Complete FAFSA if you plan to apply for financial aid
- Notify the school of your choice of your acceptance and ensure you notify other schools that you are declining their offer
Please note that all admission requirements and applications will differ from one institution to another and one program to another. You may not be able to follow the timeline listed above, but do make sure you leave yourself enough to time to choose the best program and complete all steps of the application process.
Courtesy of the
National Association of Colleges and Employers.
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Start by taking the first step. Meet your future head-on: submit your application for admission.Apply Now
Follow your intellectual passion both in and outside the classroom as you learn the skills and knowledge needed to excel.Apply to Graduate School