Overview of the Graduate Admission Process
- higher earnings
- economic security
- upward mobility
- ability to make a difference
- work variety, independence
- ability to change employers
- personal satisfaction
- quality of your undergraduate institution
- appropriate undergraduate preparation
- admission test scores (GRE, GMAT, PCAT, MCAT, LSAT)
- fit of your goals to their program
- research interests
- work experience
- letters of recommendation
- communication skills
- begin preparing for the GRE your sophomore year
- acceptable scores vary by field of study (major)
- some fields of study require a "subject" test
- develop your own preparation schedule - use study groups, online programs, books, etc.
- studying/preparing will improve your scores
The most common ways of paying for graduate school are
- teaching assistantships
- research assistantships
- tuition waivers
*tip: continue to complete the FAFSA
- web search
- ask your professors, graduate students in your major
- brochures, professional guidebooks
- contact the graduate coordinator (a staff member) in your field of study
- contact the graduate advisor (usually a faculty member) in your field of study
- send meail to professors you are interested in doing research with
- ask if you can talk to graduate students currently in the program
- visit (but don't show up unannounced)
- apply to 5 - 10 universities - 1/3 overreach or "stretch", 1/3 very possible, and 1/3 sure admission or "safety"
- You will need at least 3 good letters from professors, administrators, mentors, and supervisors.
- Generally recommendations from faculty members carry the most weight.
- Begin developing productive relationships with your faculty and departmental (major/minor)) administrators and staff.
- Start making connections with your professors and mentors and talk to them about your graduate school plans.
- A CV - curriculum vitae (loosely translated as course of life) is an academic resume that highlights your scholarly accomplishments.
- Use the CV to emphasize your research experience and presentation skills.
- Typical categories include: research experience, conference presentations, publications, professional associations.
- Unlike a resume, which is typically limited to 2 pages, a CV grows in length throughout your academic career. Start now and revise it as you progress.
- Describes your goals and reasons for attending this particular graduate program and addresses the issue of 'fit and match'.
- Use it to distinguish yourself from other applicants. It is an opportunity to 'speak directly' to the admissions committee.
- This is often the first and best opportunity to showcase your communication skills.
- Start early (e.g. junior year) and show a copy to your mentors and professors for feedback and revision.
- "Fit and match" is an essential aspect of the graduate admission process. You want to be sure that you are a good "fit" for the program you're applying to for admission and that your interests and the programs interests "match".
- In your personal statement, be sure to show why you are interested in that particular field of study and that particular graduate program.
- Explain any gaps/discrepancies in your academic record.
- Describe your short-term and long-term career goals.
- Identify specific faculty members you are interested in working with and why.
- Provide evidence of your suitability for admission to the program: do your research interests align or match with the program's?