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Consider Graduate School


Are you considering Graduate School? Reasons to consider a graduate degree or certificate include: desire to advance in your field of interest; remain on the cutting edge in your professional field; make a career change; become more marketable; ability to increase earning potential; love to learn.


Graduate and Professional Schools Fair

This event, held every fall, provides you the opportunity to meet with representatives from schools all across the nation. This is an excellent opportunity for students considering graduate school to begin to gather information about programs of interest.

Researching Programs

Before you begin the application process, take the time to research the universities and programs of your interest. Refer to the related resources box for helpful links that will help you with graduate school research. There are some of the factors you should consider when researching graduate programs, including:

  • What is the reputation of the program?
  • Where is the program located (what are the weather conditions, cost of living)?
  • What are the admissions criteria (GPA requirement, entrance exams)?
  • What types of classes and concentrations are offered? How do they relate to your interest?
  • What is the size of the institution? What are the research interests of faculty?
  • What types of funding opportunities are available (grants, fellowships, scholarships)?
  • What is the student-to-faculty ratio?
  • How many students apply / are accepted to the program?

Graduate Admissions Tests

Many graduate programs require applicants to take an admissions test. Read the school’s catalog to determine which test you will need to take for admission. Often times, the catalog will also indicate average scores. Plan to take the appropriate test at least one year in advance of your anticipated enrollment date.

Personal Statement

Most programs may also require a personal statement. Refer to the Related Resources box for helpful links that will provide useful tips to writing a winning personal statement. For assistance with grammar and sentence structure, contact the University Writing Center.

Recommendation/Reference Letter

A recommendation/reference letter is a letter from a professional or faculty member who can highlight your knowledge, skills and personal qualities. The letter should also express why you are a strong candidate for a graduate or professional program. Your reference is someone who can evaluate or discuss: academic skills, performance in your field of interest, personal characteristics, ability to work with others, leadership skills, and level of professionalism.

Provide references with ample time to write a strong reference letter. You should also provide them with materials that will help them craft a targeted letter, including a resume, information about the progam and coursework, and a stamped and pre-addressed envelope.

Timeline for Applying to Graduate School

Below is a recommended timeline for applying to graduate school. It is important to be aware of the graduate application deadlines for your program of choice. It is recommended to begin the application process at least three semesters before this date.

Semester 1

  • Determine the schools to which you plan to apply, and request application materials.
  • Contact programs about the possibility of visiting. Make trips if possible.
  • Begin to develop your personal timeline for the application process.
  • Write a draft personal statement.
  • Research graduate admissions prep classes.

Semester 2

  • Meet with faculty members and visit our office to discuss your personal statement.
  • Ask for letters of recommendation.
  • Register and take required standardized tests.
  • Complete your personal statement, adjusting it to meet each application’s requirements.
  • Order transcripts from all post-secondary institutions.

Semester 3

  • Complete and submit application forms.
  • If an interview is required, schedule a practice graduate school interview.