Tips On Getting Grad School Ready

Kailey Feshler, Multimedia Editor

Applying to graduate school can be stressful. However, offices around college campuses, including the University of New Haven, offer services and advice to students as application season is underway.

The Career Development Center (CDC) is in the process of working on a video project to advise students on how to prepare for graduate school. One of the first things the CDC advises is to know your career goal. Research the career path that you are interested in, and understand the different degrees needed to pursue it. This is crucial in understanding the other materials needed in the process.

Give yourself enough time to prepare. The CDC recommends that you begin one year prior to your intended start date of graduate school. This includes inquiring about financial aid. The earlier you apply to the school, the more access you may have to different apprenticeships and fellowships that could offer you additional financial aid.

One of the biggest challenges of applying to graduate school is entrance exams, such as the GRE, MCAT, or LSAT. Entrance exams aren’t required for all graduate programs at institutions. Make sure you research the school you’re applying to and find out if an entrance exam is a requirement.

Aside from the entrance exams, your personal statement is one of the most important factors of an application. This statement should be an essay that is focused on why you are interested in pursuing graduate school and the importance that you pursue your degree at that specific university.

“This is a very important opportunity for you to market yourself for that specific school,” said Kathy Forkin, assistant director of career preparation programs at the CDC.

Letters of recommendation allow admissions counselors to understand how other people perceive you and your work ethic. In order to gather a strong set of recommenders, build  secure academic relationships with professors and faculty early as an undergraduate, that way you can ask them for letters of recommendation further down the road. Building these relationships is important because the recommender must know you well enough to write an effective letter.

Broaden your options of different universities and apply to several of them. Of course, the number of schools you apply to will depend on the program you are pursuing. On average, try to apply to three to six different programs. This gives you more options while still being aware of the fees that are associated with the applications, along with your own personal budget.

“Research each graduate school that you are applying to and find out if there is any other [financial] applications that they require,” said associate director of financial aid at the University of New Haven, Jeff Pietrangeli.

Do your best to not wait until the last minute to gather these materials; admissions counselors will know and it could have a negative impact on your ability to be admitted to the program.

Applying to graduate school is stressful, but it’s also exciting . Follow these steps, prepare yourself, and use offices around campus for additional assistance. The Career Development Center, located in the BSAC, is open Monday-Friday, as well as some weekends. Make an appointment and get assistance to best prepare you for this process. For any additional questions regarding applying to graduate school, you can email [email protected].