Applying to Graduate School
After you have considered a variety of factors, you are ready to begin applying to the graduate programs on your target list. The most common components of a completed graduate or professional school application are listed below:
The Application for Admission
This form is available online or by contacting the graduate admissions offices to request application materials. In fact, many institutions prefer that prospective graduate students complete the online application.
This is considered by many admissions professionals to be a highly pivotal piece in critiquing a graduate application. Be certain to write clearly and logically. It is a good idea to ask a few individuals whom you trust to review your essay. Make sure there are no grammatical errors. How you write gives the impression of your ability to convey ideas, complete graduate courses, and successfully navigate the program.
All institutions expect you to produce copies of official college transcripts. You should submit transcripts from each college and/or university attended, regardless of whether a degree was conferred or not. To request transcripts, you must contact the Registrar’s Office. Note that you may be required to pay a fee in order to obtain your transcript. Some institutions allow you to request transcripts online, so be sure to check their Web sites.
Entrance Examinations (GRE, GMAT, LSAT)
The majority of graduate programs require that students take some form of graduate entrance examination. The entrance exam varies depending on your program of study. For additional information, refer to the "Standardized Tests" information below.
The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) measures English language ability in usage and comprehension. It is required by institutions of all applicants from non-English speaking countries. This test is required of international students in addition to the required entrance exam.
Another very important piece in your application process is references. References are individuals who can comment on your academic abilities and professional accomplishments. Professors, employers, and professional colleagues are common references.
Depending upon what graduate program you apply to, a resume will be required. Be sure that your resume is current and polished. It is a good idea to have your resume critiqued by a career advisor in the Center for Career Development.
Most applications for graduate admissions require an application fee. The fees range from $40 to $100. This is in addition to testing fees and other miscellaneous cost associated with applying to graduate school.
For many graduate programs such as business administration or law, entrance exams are required as part of the admission process. This is not the case for all graduate programs, so be sure to do your research. Below is a list of resources for the most common standardized tests.
Graduate Record Examination
The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) consists of two separate tests: the General Test and the Subject Test. The General Test is composed of three parts--verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing. The verbal and the quantitative tests each yield a separate score between 200-800. The Subject Test, required by only some programs, measures knowledge of a subject’s core concepts that are essential to graduate study; it also yields a score of from 200-800.
Graduate Management Admissions Council
This organization administers the GMAT and provides comprehensive information about graduate management programs, including the Master of Business Administration (MBA).
Law School Admission Council
This organization administers the LSAT and provides comprehensive information about the law school admissions process.
Standardized Test Prep
You may find the following private services and/or published resources helpful as you prepare for these standardized tests and the graduate admissions process. You may periodically see representatives around campus marketing their services to students as well as offering practice tests, test preparation courses, information sessions, etc.