Preparing for Graduate SchoolStudent


Reasons for Going to Graduate or Professional School 

  • A requirement for the career; for example law, medicine, social work, occupational therapy, counseling
  • To move up in a field of work or earn more income; e.g., nursing, business management, teaching, public administration
  • To prepare for a research career or to teach in higher education
  • To change careers
  • For personal growth

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How to Begin

Self-assessment

Consider the reasons you want to attend graduate school. Evaluate your interests, skills, values and goals in determining the program that suits you best. Think about how this decision will affect you and other people in your life. You want to spend a lot of time making an informed decision.

The Career Center can help:

  • Attend a Graduate School Search Workshop offered by our office
  • Obtain a copy of our Graduate School Search Handbook
  • Attend the annual Graduate School Fair, sponsored by the Career Center, Graduate Studies, McNair Scholars Program
  • Talk with a career counselor
  • Visit the Career Center's Career Resource Library

Gathering information

The following are websites which can give you information about programs in all fields:

Other sources of information:

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Selecting Programs

Pick up to 5 programs that match your needs, goals and personality and the research you have done on different schools. You will then need to make a time line for each program. Out of state, demanding requirements? Is a specific degree required? Prerequisite units?

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Admission Requirements

May include the following:

  1. Baccalaureate degree
  2. Minimum grade point average (cumulative or last 60 units)
  3. Minimum score on a standardized entrance examination (e.g., GRE, GMAT, MSAT)
  4. Letters of recommendation (usually 3)
  5. Experience in the field

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Application Process

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Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation will primarily be from professors. They need to know you and your work well and have very positive things to say. The school will either provide a form to be filled out or ask for a letter. Follow the instructions carefully and give the individuals a lot of time to complete the task.

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Personal Statement Critiques

In general, in a personal statement you are discussing why you want to attend the school and program. Each school may require something different and may want you to answer specific questions. You should have someone critique your personal statement before turning it in to the school. The Career Center offers a critiquing service for Personal Statements. Drop it off in our office and give us 48 hours to review.

Please note: Personal Statements must be in the final form prior to submission and only two reviews allowed per statement

See our Graduate School Search Handbook for helpful hints on writing an effective personal statement.

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