Applying to Graduate & Professional School
Most programs require most or all of the following:
- Application for admission (some schools require one for the Office of Admission and another for the specific department)
- Transcripts (official documents) from each of the schools you have previously attended
- Official entrance exams scores
- Application fee
- Letters of recommendation
- A statement of your goals and/or a resume
- Statement of your philosophy regarding your area of interest
- Application for assistantship
- Interview-either in person or by telephone
- Written essay
It's important to be aware of application deadlines.
Research the School/Program
Once you have made the decision to further your education, consider these factors when choosing a school:
- Is this an accredited program?
- How competitive is the program—do you have a good chance of being admitted?
- Does the school have the specific program you want?
- How many schools do you wish to apply to?
- Is the geographic location suitable for you?
- Can you afford the program? What are your options financially?
- How many years will you need to commit to the program?
- Are there possibilities for an assistantship?
- Do you want to attend full time or part time and is it possible to choose either way?
- Are you still planning to work while enrolled in the program?
- Should you apply to more than one program?
- Are other students happy with the program? Ask for names of current students that would be willing to talk to you.
- Of the schools that you have looked at, what are the faculty currently doing (research, etc.) and are they approachable?
Request information from the schools that you wish to consider. Be sure to review the school's website for information.
The program you choose will dictate the entrance examination you must take. Be sure to check with the schools for specific program requirements. Cowles Library has practice tests available through the Learning Express Library.
It is important to take entrance exams early enough for the results to be mailed to the schools of your choice prior to their application deadlines.
Personal Statements and Application Letters
A personal statement of application letter is often required as part of the application process. Each programs' requirements may differ, but the purpose of the document is to represent your life experiences and qualifications in the best possible way and to demonstrate your writing ability. Review general guidelines about personal statements.
Timeline for Preparation
Please note: Timelines vary depending up on the graduate/professional program and school. Please contact us for details regarding your chosen program of study.
- Junior Year (Spring/Summer)
Discuss graduate plans with faculty and advisor
Identify schools offering programs that interest you
Request application information from schools
Research fellowship and assistanceships (be aware of early deadlines)
Review exam registration materials for the appropriate required entrance exam
Take required entrance exams
Write draft of personal satement or application essay
- Senior Year (Early Fall)
Write your personal statement or application essay
Request transcript copies
Identify and reach out to three people for recommendations
Retake entrance exams if necessary
- Senior Year (Fall)
Complete applications; (review program information for specific dates)
Apply for financial aid
Fine tune your resume/CV
Prepare a portfolio if needed
- Senior Year (Spring)
Decide which program to accept; obtain promises for financial aid in writing
Send letters to schools you have declined
Write thank you cards to your recommendation writers and those that have assisted you
- Celebrate and share the news