Applying to Graduate School

Graduate School Information

Is Graduate School Right for You?
The decision to attend graduate school is not an easy one. It's a tremendous commitment, so your decision requires complete honesty about your motivation, goals and limitations.

Here are some questions to ask yourself to help with your decision about whether or not graduate school if right for you.

  • Does my field require a graduate degree for entry?
  • Do I have the interest and ability to succeed in a graduate program?
  • What do I want to accomplish in my lifetime?
  • By attending graduate school, am I simply delaying my career planning?
  • Will the time and money spent on a graduate program translate into greater career mobility and financial possibilities?
  • Am I willing to meet the extensive research, coursework and other demands of a graduate academic program?
  • How will your personal values and goals fit into your graduate school life?

Directories and Guides
The Hilbert Career Development Center has a number of books and resources available about graduate schools or you can talk to your academic chairperson about schools they might suggest. There are also a number of online resources to assist in your selection in finding the graduate school program that's best for you.

Applying to Graduate School
Most graduate programs require Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores as part of the application for admission. Other tests might include the Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT) or the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT).

  • Plan to take the appropriate entrance exam during your junior year or, at the latest, during the fall of your senior year.
  • Take the test far enough in advance to give you time should you want to take the test again in hopes of getting a higher score.
  • Use an exam review guide.
  • Consider taking a graduate preparation class or attend one of Hilbert's graduate school workshops.
  • Most graduate school programs require three or more letters of recommendation, official transcripts, a resume, and an application essay. For the essay, be sure to be very clear about why you wish to pursue graduate school and present yourself as a unique individual who has something to offer to the program. Career development center staff are available to review your essay and offer tips on how to improve it.

Other guidelines for completing your application:

  • Leave nothing blank. Include honors, and activities and professional organizations you have joined. Send something extra along with your application but it must be quality work and be directly related.
  • Be honest. Don't misrepresent your GPA. If your GPA was low your freshman year, indicate your GPA has increased steadily each year. Or calculate your last 60 hours. Remember, present your GPA as requested but contribute an additional statement with your recalculated GPA to demonstrate your good academic grades.

Graduate School Preparation Checklist

  • Research graduate programs and request catalogues and other materials from your schools of interest.
  • Consult with your academic advisor or department chairperson in your field of interest for their recommendation on graduate programs.
  • Visit graduate school campuses and departments when possible.
  • Note application deadlines and admission policies.
  • Research exam/test dates and fees and take the required graduate entrance exams.
  • Attend a graduate school workshop offered by the Hilbert Career Development Center.
  • Investigate scholarships, assistantships, grants, and other financial aid options.
  • Obtain letters of recommendation about one year prior to the start of graduate school.
  • Complete the application process.
  • Once accepted, send a deposit to the school of your choice.
  • Notify other schools that have accepted you of your school choice.