Tips for applying to graduate school

Create a Schedule. Once you’ve researched schools with programs of interest, identify deadlines, application requirements, test scores and additional materials required by each of the schools you are applying to. Allow yourself enough time for writing purpose statements and essays.

Know Your Motivations. Graduate school is a significant investment of time and money. Be able to identify the reasons you are applying. If you are looking to change careers or break into a new field, you should be able to discuss why this is an important step for you. If you can’t clearly articulate what you will bring to a school and what you wish to gain from the program, you will have a hard time convincing an admissions committee that you are worth a spot in the program.

Secure Recommendations. Choose individuals that can speak to your accomplishments, work ethic and competencies that will contribute to your success in graduate school. Arrange an appointment to discuss your goals and how graduate school will help you achieve them.

Go Beyond The Website. Visit campus, set up a meeting with faculty or attend an online information session to get familiar with campus and/or faculty. By referring to specific qualities of a program, you can help show interviewers that you are serious about your decision to apply. It also demonstrates that you’ve done your research and can make meaningful connections about the program and your educational and professional goals.

Perfect Your Pitch. A resume is a great tool for giving admissions a snapshot of your academic and professional experiences but it falls short in showing your personality. Be able to identify your accomplishments, obstacles you have encountered and how you overcame them. Storytelling can be an effective way to convey personality and the experiences that have motivated you to pursue your field.

The Right Fit. Once you are accepted to graduate school, remember the admissions committee isn’t the only one deciding your future. Be sure that the school feels like the right fit for you. Do the culture, size, cost and location fit within your larger goals?

Funding Your Education. Financial planning for your graduate education can be an overwhelming endeavor. Check out our tips on making graduate school more affordable including information on fellowships, scholarships, financial aid, and tax credits.