Graduate School Information

What is required to apply for admission to the Graduate School?

  • Requirements will vary by institution
  • Bachelor’s degree (or its international equivalent) from a regionally accredited institution
  • Standardized test scores (e.g. GRE, GMAT)
  • Letters of recommendation (usually three)
  • Writing sample, portfolio or audition
  • Additional graduate program application
  • Prerequisite coursework

End of Junior Year / Summer Before Senior Year

  • Talk with your advisor, other faculty/staff
  • Talk to graduate students on your area of interest
  • Make campus visits
  • Consult college catalogs
  • Think about who will serve as references
  • Begin to narrow your choices for where to go to graduate school
  • Know the requirements for each program and school of interest: GPA, prerequisite coursework, standardized test scores, internships, service hours, and experience/exposure to the field of work

Junior Year

  • If provided, attend graduate and professional school recruiting fairs to obtain application materials
  • Before attending, research schools that interest you
  • Talk with Graduate School representatives and ask questions
  • Use the Internet to locate information and obtain application materials
  • Take the GRE or other graduate school exam as stated by the school and program
  • Sign up to take GRE or other graduate school admission exam at www.ets.org
  • Begin drafting your statement of purpose or other essays that are required
  • Consider financial aid options and inquire about scholarships
  • Begin work on application and be careful to proofread and follow directions
  • Ask several people to review your application and statement of purpose before submitting
  • Save or print a copy of all information submitted
  • Be aware of deadlines and do not miss them
  • Submit application, application fee, college transcripts, resume, and statement of purpose or other document requested

When writing statement of purpose, remember:

  • Clearly state area of interest
  • State long term goals
  • Stay within the required word limit
  • Tailor to the specific program; mention faculty with whom you would like to study
  • Follow directions (i.e. answer specific questions)
  • Use correct paragraph construction, spelling and grammar to demonstrate writing ability
  • Length: brief but informative, and stay within any stated page limits

If a resume or curriculum vitae (CV) is requested:

  • Opportunity to state educational/research accomplishments related to goals
  • Include awards, literary prizes, publications
  • Include work experience and especially any teaching experience
  • List language skills, leadership roles and volunteer work

Senior Year

  • Submit applications for graduate school
  • Apply for financial aid and scholarships
  • Begin preparation for interviews
  • Wait for acceptance letters
  • Once acceptance letters have been received, know the deadline to respond to confirm the offer of admission

Before accepting the graduate school offer, consider the following:

  • Does the program closely match my interests and goals?
  • Think about the cost of living and tuition expenses vs. availability of funding
  • Location and housing
  • Consider the quality of programs, rankings as well as employment upon completion of program

A few tips about letters of recommendation and references:

  • Carefully choose references
  • Ask faculty members who know you, your work, goals and accomplishments
  • Ask the references to provide specifics in letters of recommendation such as comparison ratings or specific research experience
  • Provide references with a resume 
  • Highlight accomplishments not readily seen in the rest of the application
  • Give references as much lead time as possible.  If a letter is needed, provide postage and address along with deadlines
  • If references are completing information online, provide the website for them
  • Arrange for one extra letter as “insurance”