For students transitioning out of college, there are two main options that await them.
One is to immediately join the workforce, but the other is to continue their education.
Many people find that they want to further their education, and thus, choose grad school.
But when they do so, they find that there’s yet another round of applications to go through in order to be admitted into their graduate school of choice.
This process can be fairly overwhelming to some, so here is some information about the grad school application process in order to make it less intimidating.
Firstly, let’s begin by answering a few common questions…
What are the acceptance rates for grad school?
Part of the reason why the grad school application process is so overwhelming is definitely because of the fear of not getting in.
And technically speaking, the acceptance rates for most grad schools average at about fifteen percent. Which can be a scary number!
But always keep in mind that less competitive grad schools will likely have higher acceptance rates than more competitive ones.
And with a well done application, you’ll raise your chances immensely.
Who decides if you get into grad school?
Another common question is in regards to who exactly makes the acceptance decisions for grad schools.
And the answer is that most graduate schools have an admissions committee which consists of various faculty members.
These faculty members meet after the deadline and sort through the applications, ultimately deciding who gets in.
What do you need to know about the grad school application process?
1. Grad Schools Will Take Note Of How Serious You Are About Your Chosen Field
Grad schools take into account many different factors when they’re deciding whether or not to accept you into their program.
But one of the variables that they focus on is your dedication to your chosen field.
They want to see a history of commitment to it, so that they know you’ll take grad school seriously and won’t end up quitting or not giving it your all.
One great way to show them that you mean business is to state clear goals that align with your area of grad school study.
And another great sign is if you’ve had quite a bit of past experience with that field as well. Through internships, specialized courses, job experiences, etc.
2 . Your Statement Of Purpose Is Extremely Important
A lot of the application process to grad school has to do with more technical factors, such as grades and testing (as we’ll get into later).
But one of the more personal parts of your graduate school application will be your statement of purpose.
A statement of purpose is an essay that covers information about your past background in your chosen field, why your chosen graduate school is important to you, etc.
And it’s a great way to let your personality show in your application, so you need to perfect it as much as possible.
It’s even a good idea to have someone proofread it before you officially send it in.
Note: That some schools require a personal statement, rather than a statement of purpose. Which is a bit more about you instead of your accomplishments and goals.
3. Your Chosen Grad School May Have A Minimum GPA Requirement
Your grades will never cease to be important as long as you’re pursuing further education, so grad schools will need to know your undergraduate GPA.
Therefore during your application process, you’ll need to share your undergraduate transcripts with the grad school you’re applying to.
Although it is common knowledge that the higher the GPA, the better your chances of getting accepted…
What some people don’t know is that certain graduate schools might have a minimum GPA requirement.
Usually this requirement will be around 3.0, but it could be lower for less competitive grad schools. And likewise, could be higher for more competitive ones.
4. You’ll Probably Have To Take A Graduate School Exam
Most graduate schools require you to take a graduate school exam, and share your test scores with them.
In case you’re not familiar with the concept, a graduate school exam is essentially like the SATs of grad school.
The most common grad school exam is the GRE (Graduate Records Examination).
But there are more specialized grad schools exams for certain areas of study. Examples would be the MCATs for future medical students or the LCATs for future students of law.
Additionally, much like the minimum GPA requirement; there may be a minimum grad school exam score.
Usually you can tell what the minimum might be on your chosen grad school’s website. But of course, the higher the score… the more your application will stand out.
5. You Shouldn’t Wait To Submit Your Application Until Right Before The Deadline
And finally, the last thing I want to mention is that procrastination is your enemy when it comes to submitting your graduate school application.
In fact, Duke Graduate School actually suggests that you submit your application at least two weeks before the deadline.
And they suggest you start to get your information together far before then. Such as requesting your transcripts from your undergrad school eight weeks ahead of time, etc.
Doing everything early will ensure that if something doesn’t go to plan, you’ll be less likely to miss your deadline completely.
Is there a lot to know about the graduate school application process?
As you can probably tell by reading this post, there’s a lot to consider when you’re putting together your grad school application.
But there are plenty of great resources online for you to learn about it, and this post covered a lot of the main points.
Plus, many mentors and professors may be willing to answer any questions you have. And it never hurts to ask people with experience in the process.
Grad School Application Checklist
If you’re not sure where to start, head over to our Free Career Center and download our Grad School Application Checklist.
The checklist covers everything you’ll need to get started with your graduate school applications.
And the best part is it’s completely free!
Over To You
Are you considering applying for grad school, if so, please share your thoughts on the process over at @netwerkmovement.
And if you know of any future grad students who would find this article helpful, please send it to them!