Graduate school is right for you if:
- You have a clear sense of the career you want to pursue, and if an advanced degree is the ticket to entry into that field. Law, medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy are areas in which education beyond the baccalaureate level is required.
- You really are interested in the particular academic discipline purely for the love of it and would never forgive yourself if you did not give it a try.
- After working in the "real world" for awhile, you may want to add a graduate degree in order to progress up the corporate ladder or change fields of employment.
Graduate school may be wrong for you if:
- You have not decided what kind of career you want to pursue. Remember, competitive programs look for individuals who have clearly defined interests.
- You are getting pressure from family and/or friends.
- You are doing it simply to postpone the inevitable job search. Remember a graduate degree is no guarantee of a job.
Factors in selecting a graduate school:
- Reputation of the institution, faculty, and research facilities
- Availability of fellowships, scholarships, and financial aid
- Geographic location
- Availability of affordable housing
- Courses taught by faculty who are experienced, renowned, published, etc.
- Social climate and support systems - access to faculty and administration, counseling services, symposia, emergency loans, library, newsletters and graduate communications, career resources, student support groups etc.
What is evaluated during the application process:
- Undergraduate grades
- GRE, GMAT, MAT, LSAT, MCAT, etc. scores
- Letters of recommendation
- Graduate essay/statement of purpose
- Reputation of undergraduate institution
- Undergraduate major/field of study, patterns of academic study, relevance of prior coursework to proposed graduate study
- Internships/co-ops and/or work experience
What types of financial support are available?
- Fellowships and scholarships
- Work programs/graduate student employment
Steps in the graduate school application process:
1. Freshman and Sophomore Years
- Assess interests, abilities, and career goals
- Begin informational interviews with current graduate students
- Discuss with your career consultant
2. Junior Year
- Gather information on graduate programs (https://www.petersons.com/)
- Visit school websites for graduate bulletins and application materials
- Learn entrance examination requirements and dates
- Investigate application deadlines
3. Pre-Senior Summer
- Narrow list of schools to top choices
- Gather financial information
- Register for entrance exams
- Write first draft of graduate essay/statement of purpose
- Contact recommendation sources
- Prepare financial statements for financial aid
4. Fall Semester Senior Year
- Select schools where you want to apply
- Review draft of graduate essay/statement of purpose with faculty member
- Take entrance exams
- Request letters of recommendation
- Make arrangements with the Registrar's Office for your transcripts to be sent
- Make arrangements for entrance exam scores to be sent
- Prepare final versions of your graduate essay/statement of purpose
- Submit completed applications with required fees at least two weeks prior to the deadline
- Follow-up with the schools to be sure that your application has been received and is complete
5. Spring Semester Senior Year
- If required, schedule and attend a meeting with the Admissions Committee
- Schedule a "mock interview" with your career consultant prior to the Admissions Committee interview.
- Follow-up with the Registrar's Office to have final transcripts sent
- Accept/decline graduate school admissions by school's deadline
Additional resources for graduate school information:
How to locate graduate programs
How to finance graduate school