Practical Tips on Applying to Graduate School

Attending graduate school can help students or professionals accomplish their career goals and may even be necessary for some fields. Applying to grad school does have similarities to the undergraduate application process. Consider things such as writing personal statements and filling out relevant applications.

Are you one of those people embarking on your grad school journey? Tips and strategies that helped us navigate the application process include seeking the right program, making an application timeline, thoroughly creating an efficient statement of purpose and personal statement, and planning for how we would cover the upcoming expenses like lab fees and tuition.

Tips and Strategies to Prepare for the Grad School Application Process

These tips helped us to identify our goals and make a plan that helped us accomplish our grad school goals.

Pick the right graduate school

It’s crucial to ensure that you’re applying to the proper schools that suit your needs. Here are a few questions that helped us see if we are on the right path:

  • Will this degree facilitate my entry into the career of my choice?
  • Does this school have amazing professors?
  • Are scholarships accessible, either partial or full ride?
  • How much does the tuition cost?
  • Does my chosen career encourage a master’s degree or Ph.D.? 
  • Do the schools I am considering offer that program?
  • Which degree path do I want to pursue? 

Typically, students strive to apply to between five or six schools. Maybe you are still in the early stages of finding schools over which grad program to pursue. It’s time to weigh your talents, skills, interests, and career goals to find options that make sense to apply.

Do not let your personal statement pressure you 

Applying to grad schools can be a challenging task. There are many moving parts between the online application, GMAT/GRE tests, recommendation letters, and more. Don’t allow it to give you a headache. 

Here are more tips to help you create the ideal personal statement for your grad school application: 

Be strategic and tell us about yourself

This is your opportunity to give your application a bit of personality. We like to hear more about you. Did you recently change positions or move to the area? Have you hit the ceiling and need another certificate or degree to break through? Perhaps you are looking to make a career change. 

Why is the program a great fit for your career goals? 

Show us you have done your research. You will find many specialty master’s programs and MBAs out there. If the school you picked prides itself on excellence, diversity, community, and value, you need to let them know how vital those characteristics are to you. 

What else should we know about you? 

It’s your opportunity to talk about any specifics of your application. Was your GPA from a decade ago less than stellar, but do you have progressive and professional work experience you wish to highlight? Did you have an extra difficult semester and want to talk about why?

Normally, grad schools look for at least two pages, single-spaced. Your goal is to show that you can present details while being concise at the same time. 

Keep in mind that applying to grad schools does not have to be overwhelming. Begin by identifying your career goals and identify which programs you wish to apply to. 

From there, assess the application requirements and set your application timeline. That must involve things like preparing for any standardized tests, getting letters of recommendation, and crafting a statement of purpose. 

Equipped with this information, your application process will hopefully feel a lot more manageable.

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