Applying to Graduate & Professional School


Step 1: Research and select schools

See our "Steps to Graduate & Professional School" page for things to consider. During your research, make note of application requirements, such as if you need to apply to only the graduate school or both the school and specific program. When applying to a professional school, note the specific documents required for the national application system and each school to which you are applying.


Step 2: Take your standardized tests

Research to find out which exams are required for admission. Some schools or programs require the GRE, GMAT, GRE Subject Tests, LSAT, MCAT, etc.



Step 3: Refine your resume or CV

To demonstrate your qualifications, you will need to provide a record of your activities (research, clinical, professional, etc.). Visit your career consultant to have your document critiqued before submission.


Step 4: Write your personal statement

This is a summary of your goals and intent for applying to graduate school; its main objective is to articulate your professional focus and vision. See our "Personal Statements: Do's and Don'ts" page and our "Personal Statement Examples" page for tips and examples.


Step 5: Request letters of recommendation

It is important to choose the right individuals to write your letters. These can be professors, supervisors, and colleagues. Provide these individuals with a copy of your resume and personal statement to aid them in writing you a strong letter. Be mindful of deadlines, and ask for letters in a reasonable time-frame. Try to ask at least one month in advance.


Step 6: Complete application forms

Most likely you will submit online, but if mailing your application, send it certified mail and request a return receipt. Remember to send the appropriate application fee.


Step 7: Request transcripts from the Registrar’s Office

You may have to send official transcripts from the Registrar’s Office directly to the school, or you may have to include an official sealed transcript in your application materials.


Step 8: Financial aid and assistantships

Check for financial aid deadlines. Make sure you indicate on your application (if space is provided) that you are interested in an assistantship. Most programs will provide information about applying for these opportunities on their website.


Step 9: Follow-up

Make a follow-up call to the admissions office to inquire about your application status. Be persistent, but allow six weeks for processing.

Pro Tip

If you’re a current graduate student, we offer a tailored guide for you! Review our "Graduate Student Career Guide"" for an in-depth resource sharing resume/CV examples, industry and academia job search tools, and more.