Graduate/Professional School Information

Graduate school is right for you if:

  • You have a clear sense of the career you want to pursue, and if an advanced degree is the ticket to entry into that field. Teaching, law, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, and psychology are areas in which education beyond the baccalaureate level is required.
  • You really are interested in the particular academic discipline purely for the love of it and would never forgive yourself if you did not give it a try.
  • After working in the "real world" for awhile, you may want to add a graduate degree in order to progress up the corporate ladder or change fields of employment.

Graduate school may be wrong for you if:

  • You have not decided what kind of career you want to pursue. Remember, competitive programs look for individuals who have clearly defined interests.
  • You are getting pressure from family and/or friends.
  • You are doing it simply to postpone the inevitable job search. Remember a graduate degree is no guarantee of a job.

How to Start the Graduate School Process

Freshman and Sophomore Years

  • Assess interests, abilities, and career goals
  • Begin informational interviews with current graduate students

Junior Year

  • Gather information on graduate programs (
  • Visit school websites for graduate bulletins and application materials
  • Learn entrance examination requirements and dates
  • Investigate application deadlines

Pre-Senior Summer

  • Narrow list of schools
  • Gather financial information
  • Register for entrance exams
  • Write first draft of graduate essay/statement of purpose
  • Contact recommendation sources
  • Prepare financial statements for financial aid

Fall Semester Senior Year

  • Select schools
  • Review draft of graduate essay/statement of purpose with faculty member
  • Take entrance exams
  • Request letters of recommendation
  • Make arrangements with the Registrar's Office for your transcripts to be sent
  • Make arrangements for entrance exam scores to be sent
  • Prepare final versions of your graduate essay/statement of purpose
  • Submit completed applications with required fees at least two weeks prior to the deadline
  • Follow-up with the schools to be sure that your application has been received and is complete

Spring Semester Senior Year

  • If required, schedule and attend a meeting with the Admissions Committee
  • Schedule a "mock interview" with the Center for Career Development Office prior to the Admissions Committee interview.
  • Follow-up with the Registrar's Office to have final transcripts sent to school
  • Accept/decline graduate school admissions

Factors in Selecting a Graduate School

  • Reputation of the institution, faculty, and research facilities
  • Availability of fellowships, scholarships, and financial aid
  • Geographic location
  • Availability of affordable housing
  • Courses taught be faculty who are experienced, renowned, published, etc.
  • Social climate and support systems - access to faculty and administration, counseling services, symposia, emergency loans, library, newsletters and graduate communications, career resources, student support groups etc.

What is Evaluated During the Application Process

  • Undergraduate grades
  • GRE, GMAT, MAT, LSAT, MCAT, etc. scores
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Graduate essay/statement of purpose
  • Reputation of undergraduate institution
  • Undergraduate major/field of study, patterns of academic study, relevance of prior course work to proposed graduate study
  • Internships/co-ops and/or work experience

What Types of Financial Support are Available?

  • Fellowships and scholarships
  • Grants
  • Loans
  • Work programs/assistantships

Internet Resources

Most schools have their graduate school information and applications on their websites. Check out individual school websites for additional information.

Graduate/Professional School