Student Professional Development Center

Graduate and Professional School

Prepare to Apply

Tips to help you stand out amongst other applicants:

  • Do well in your course work; write a thesis if you have the option
  • Take advantage of free practice graduate admission tests offered each semester on campus; take the appropriate test at least six months before you need to send in a score
  • Do externships or substantial volunteer work if your undergraduate major does not have a required internship - sign up to be a faculty member’s instructional assistant; volunteer as a tutor
  • Get research experience with a faculty mentor
  • Research graduate programs to get a sense of what is possible and make sure that the undergraduate courses you are taking will prepare you for the graduate programs to which you intend to apply
  • If the premier professional organization in your discipline offers student memberships, join!
  • Be active in student organizations - but be selective. Make sure that each activity maximizes your potential for a specific kind of graduate program
  • When possible, visit the programs on your “A” list and make appointments to speak with the program directors and the chairpersons of the admissions committees, and if possible, ask to meet with current students.
  • Select your references carefully, and give them enough time and information.
  • Follow all application instructions to the letter. Be aware of deadlines.
  • When you are admitted to the program of your choice, accept in writing.  Send a formal letter thanking the admissions committee and announcing your intention to enter the program and to accept the assistantships and scholarships that they have so kindly offered you. Then write a courteous letter to the other programs that have admitted you – thank them for their time and consideration and explain that you have accepted an offer from another institution. In both cases, send a copy of the letter to the graduate school office.

Documents that should always be sent, even if they are not required:

  • A cover letter introducing yourself and explaining which program should get your application AND thanking the admission office or graduate school for their time in evaluating your application.
  • A statement of intent- why you want a graduate degree, what you intend to do with that graduate degree, and why you are interested in a specific program in that specific university. You will obviously have to tailor this piece of writing to each program.
  • An academic resume, which should address your academic training, university service, oriented work experience (library, computer lab, tutoring, etc) and computer programs with which you are familiar.

Graduate School Interviews

The Entrance Essay


For additional resources, please see Graduate School Search Resources and Financing Graduate School

For international resources, please see the Isabella Cannon International Centre: "International" Graduate School Resources