A typical application
package will consist of several components. Completion of each part requires
diligence and dedication and should not be taken lightly.
- Application form - including a personal statement
- Non-refundable fee
- Financial Aid application
- Letters of Recommendation
- Standardized test scores
- Personal Interview
- The application
form is the most unambiguous component of the application package.
- Make sure to follow
the instructions carefully and pay special attention to detail.
- Type or print
in black ink.
- Fill out each
page clearly, accurately, and free of typographical and grammatical errors.
- Be consistent
in spelling out your full legal name on each page or item you submit.
school application contains an essay portion or “statement of purpose.” Your
essay should specifically address questions posed in the application and express
your enthusiasm for the field of study, your motivation, creativity, maturity
and personal uniqueness. The essay is a key measure of your communication skills,
so it pays to be meticulous about spelling, grammar, and writing style. Most
applications will state the length of the essay or provide space. Keep your essay
within these boundaries; a longer essay will tire the admissions committee and
will work against you. Admissions committees will evaluate the quality of the
essay, not the length. For easier readibility, use at least a ten point type
or larger and choose a traditional easy-to-read typeface.
In most cases,
fees range from $25 - $150. By the time you apply to several schools, the fees
add up to a lot of money! However, many schools have an application fee waiver
for students with financial need. Call the admissions office for more information.
An application for financial aid will generally come either as part of your application
packet or in a separate mailing from a campus financial aid office. You may need
to apply separately for fellowships and loans. Since financial support varies
widely from institution to institution, the best advice is to read all financial
aid materials carefully and to file documents on time.
your registrar’s office send an official transcript of your undergraduate work
directly to the admissions office of the schools to which you are applying. When
reviewing your transcript, the admissions committee may consider:
- Cumulative GPA
- GPA in your major/concentration
- Final two year
- GPA in courses
relevant to your intended field
- GPA from year-to-year
or semester to semester
standard GPA needed for acceptance to most graduate schools is 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
Many other schools will accept students with less than 3.0, so don’t rule out
graduate school if your GPA is below that mark. A below-average GPA can often
be offset by good letters of recommendation, high test scores, and a well-written
More and more
graduate schools include personal interviews as part of the overall application
process. The interview gives both you and the admissions committee a firsthand
opportunity to determine if there is a good match.
schools ask for three to five letters of recommendation. Admissions committees
prefer references from faculty who can evaluate your academic performance and
graduate school potential. Approach faculty members early in the fall of your
senior year to give them time to write before their other academic pressures
mount. Schedule meetings with your recommendation writers to discuss your reasons
for going to graduate school and why you are applying to specific programs. Provide
an abstract of courses taken and grades received, projects completed, and a concise
description of graduate school and career plans. Letters
of Recommendation should outline specific accomplishments that you have achieved
and should tie into why you are an exceptional candidate.
Standardized Test Scores
catalog will specify which test you need and often indicate what is considered
to be a competitive score. The most common tests are the GRE (Graduate Record
Examination), the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission test), the MCAT (Medical
College Admission test), and the LSAT (Law School Admission test). Some schools
may require other tests or specialized tests for various professional degree
programs. Test registration deadlines are well in advance of the actual test
dates, and most are given only a few times annually. Due to increased competition
for admission and financial assistance, it will work to your advantage to take
the appropriate standardized test early in your application process. Policies
regarding taking the test more than once, and whether scores are averaged or
if the highest score alone is considered, vary from institution to institution
so make sure and ask the admissions office.