Going to grad school provides you with an opportunity to earn an advanced degree. This degree can lead to higher-paying jobs and a more challenging and satisfying career. Knowing how to get into grad school can help you prepare for this process. Since you might face some stiff competition, especially in degree programs with a high demand, it’s important to do as much as you can to get accepted. Keep the following tips to get into grad school in mind.
Tips for Getting into Grad School
Getting into grad school isn’t quite the same as getting into an undergrad school. When you apply to grad school, you might have a more difficult time getting accepted, especially if you aren’t well-prepared. Competition at some schools or for certain degree programs can be fierce, so it’s best to have as much knowledge about the admission process as possible. From knowing when to apply to getting ready for interviews, these tips can provide you with valuable advice for getting accepted to a graduate program.
One way to get ahead of the competition when applying to grad school is by starting early. You should start by exploring graduate degree programs that you might be interested in, which you can do while you’re still an undergrad. Depending on your undergrad degree, you might have a good idea of the type of advanced degree you want to earn. Some degree programs have a specialization or focus in different areas, which you should keep in mind. Knowing which specific degree program you want to pursue can help you narrow down school options, so you can begin looking into requirements and the admissions process.
Earn Strong Grades in Undergrad
No matter how far away you are from graduation as an undergrad, it’s important to focus on your grades. Grad schools have certain requirements for GPAs that you’ll need to meet in order to be considered. This minimum GPA varies from one grad school to the next, such as 3.5 or 3.2, but you should aim for high grades as an undergrad. Having strong grades can help put you ahead of fellow grad school applicants, especially if you’re applying to a school with a higher minimum GPA requirement.
If you already know which advanced degree you want to earn, keep this in mind when choosing courses as an undergrad. Include as many prerequisites as possible when you’re pursuing your undergrad degree. Getting these classes out of the way now means you won’t have to worry about taking them as a grad student. This can help cut down on the time and money you spend earning your graduate degree. Have an academic advisor help you choose prerequisites based on your educational goals if you’re having trouble determining what you should take.
Cultivate Relationships with Faculty
The faculty at your undergrad school aren’t just there to help you learn specific skills or concepts. Faculty members can also help you with your educational and career goals. Taking time to build relationships with faculty can help when it comes to applying for grad school. These faculty members can provide you with advice on your chosen field and the application process for grad school based on their own experience. They can also write letters of recommendation. You can build these relationships by using office hours to meet with faculty one on one and by participating during class.
You don’t have to wait until after graduation from undergrad school to do an internship. In fact, participating in internships as an undergrad can help you get into grad school. Having internship experience shows grad schools how dedicated you are to pursuing a degree and career in your field. This experience might also provide you with a chance to discuss new skills you’ve learned as an intern when you apply for grad school. Look for internship opportunities you can do during your summers off in undergrad school or during spring or winter breaks.
Take Any Applicable Tests
Getting into grad school often involves taking one or more standardized tests, such as the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), or the Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT). You can take these tests while you’re an undergrad if you want to start working toward your graduate degree right after graduation. Keep in mind that you’ll need to set aside time to study for each test you’ll be taking. You can read about these tests, take practice tests, and use other online tools to help you prepare. Find out which types of tests you need to take for the degree program you want, as well as when these tests take place.
Review Your Program’s Requirements
The requirements for graduate degree programs can vary widely, so it’s best to check what’s required for your specific program. In addition to standardized tests, you’ll typically need to provide a transcript from your college, as well as letters of recommendation. You might also need to provide a personal statement and submit a writing sample. Knowing what the program requirements are well in advance can help ensure that you’re ready to meet them by the time you apply to grad school. When you have a list of requirements, make a note of the due date for submission of this information.
Visit the School’s Career Center
If you’re not completely sure what you want to do in terms of an advanced degree, stop by the career center at your college. When you go to the career center, staff members can help you determine which advanced degree program might work best for you based on your long-term career goals. Once you know which graduate degree program you want to pursue, staff members can help you look for available internships and grad schools that fit your educational needs. In some cases, staff members can help you get in touch with graduates from your school who have earned an advanced degree or are currently working on earning one.
Request Your Transcripts
Part of getting into grad school is submitting your transcripts from any undergraduate schools you have attended. If you’ve switched colleges, make sure you request a transcript from each one. Grad schools want to know what your whole academic history is, not just your most recent college experience. Find out how long it takes to get your transcripts and what forms you need to fill out in order to get them. Make sure you request transcripts early enough since it might take weeks or even months to get them. You should also ask for a copy of your transcripts for yourself, so you can look them over.
Update Your Resume
Before applying to grad school, spend time updating your resume. You should have information on there that grad school admissions officers will want to see, such as your GPA, standardized test scores, relevant internships or other work experience, and any extracurricular activities showcasing leadership skills. You might also want to include volunteer work you’ve done and any coursework you’ve done, such as prerequisites. Your resume should allow admissions officers to easily see what you’ve accomplished, what kinds of experience you have, and what types of skills you have.
Write Your Personal Statement and Essays
The process for applying to grad school typically requires you to write a personal statement or essay. This personal statement should reflect or explain why you’re a good fit for the degree program you’re interested in. Depending on the school you apply to, you might have to write a personal statement or essay on a specific topic. At some schools, grad school applicants can choose their essay topic. Whether you have a specific topic or a topic of your choosing, make sure your essay provides relevant information about you and your experiences. Before submitting your personal statement, make sure you proofread it.
Gather Strong Letters of Recommendation
One requirement for admission in most grad school is providing a letter of recommendation. These recommendations help admissions officers learn more about you from other people. You should ask for letters of recommendation from one or more of your professors, especially if you’ve taken more than one class with them. Make sure you ask for recommendations from professors that you’ve built a relationship with, since they’ll know you better and be able to provide more detailed information about your skills and experience. Keep in mind that you can provide these faculty members with additional information to mention in the letters, such as volunteer activities you’ve done.
Prepare for Interview
Being well-prepared for a grad school interview can help ensure that you make a strong impression. This can help you stand out from the competition and boost your chances of being accepted. To prepare for your interview, you should research the school you’re applying to, make a list of questions to ask, and do practice interviews. These practice interviews can help you prepare answers for commonly asked questions ahead of time, so that you’ll feel more relaxed during the interview. You should confirm the interview date and time with the school, bring your updated resume, and dress professionally.
Know Your Deadlines
When you’re taking time to boost your chances of being accepted to grad school, the last thing you want to do is miss deadlines. The deadlines for schools and degree programs can vary depending on when a program starts. For example, you might need to apply to grad school as early as January or even December for a program that begins in September. When you know which school you want to apply to, make sure you note the deadline for applications. Other deadlines to keep in mind include those for letters of recommendation, transcript requests, personal statements, and standardized tests. Missing even one of these components could prevent you from being able to timely submit an application at the school of your choice.
Grad school can be more expensive than undergrad school, so it’s wise to plan accordingly. Depending on your personal financial situation, you might look into scholarships, fellowships, and grants, as well as financial assistance options. Scholarships, fellowships, and grants can help reduce the amount you spend on grad school, while financial assistance can provide you with help covering these costs through federal or private loans. Keep costs in mind when you choose a grad school and degree program, especially if you’ll need to take additional courses, such as prerequisites.
If you’ve been thinking of getting a graduate degree, please contact Post University today. We offer flexible graduate degree programs, including Master of Education, Master of Science in Accounting, and more. Get in touch with our admissions department to learn more about our program options and requirements.
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