Once you have decided on the type of program you wish to enter, you will need to narrow your list. Sort your schools into Dream/Competitive Schools, Competitive Schools, and Safety Schools. Your application process should start a year to a year and a half before the semester in which you plan to enroll.
- Application Forms
Application forms should be neatly typed. Most institutions offer applications which can be completed online. Be aware of applications deadlines. Most application deadlines fall between December and March. Even if admissions are handled on a “rolling” basis, it is still to your advantage to apply early in order to receive maximum consideration. Be sure to enclose any required fees.
- Admissions Tests/Scores
Most graduate and professional schools require you to take a standardized exam before they make a decision about your application for admission. The most commonly required exams are:
- Dental Admission Test (DAT)
- Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
For study in the academic disciplines
- Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)
For MBA programs
- Law School Admission Test (LSAT)
- Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)
- Miller’s Analogies Test (MAT)
For education programs and others
Information bulletins on the GRE, LSAT, and GMAT are available in the Office of Career Development. After reviewing the appropriate bulletin, you may wish to purchase a preparation guide for that test. These preparation manuals are available for most exams and can be purchased at bookstores or on-line,
- CV or Resume
Some schools also require you to submit a copy or your current resume or curriculum vitae. ADD CV resources here
- Personal Statements/Essays
Most programs will require you to write an essay or statement of purpose as part of the application process. Topics are generally very open-ended. This is your opportunity to make yourself stand out from the other applicants so makes sure your essay is clear, concise, personable and error free. Be sure to address why you are applying and why you are a good candidate for their program. Stop by the Office of Career Development to check out sample personal statements.
- Letters of Recommendation
Most schools will require between three and five letters of recommendation. Pay close attention to deadline dates and allow plenty of time for your references to write their letters. Generally, letters are to be provided by faculty members or past employers who can assess your attitude and motivation for graduate study. It is very important that your choose reference writers who know you well and can attest to your academic or work abilities, accomplishments, and character. Your references may find it helpful if you provide them a copy or your resume or meet with them to discuss your goals and achievements. Give your letter writers pre-addressed, stamped envelopes in which to send your letters to the graduate schools.
Transcripts must be official which means they must be sent to admissions offices directly from the Registrar's Office. If you have attended more than one college, include copies from each school to show all credits earned toward your degree.
Some schools may require an interview as part of the application process. If you are applying for an assistantship, an interview may also be required. The interview also gives you an opportunity to visit campus and find out more about the program. Treat the graduate school interview like a job interview: be professional and prepared.