How to Apply for Grad School
Choosing to pursue higher education is a huge and exciting step in any student’s life. It might seem a little overwhelming, but you will get through it, just like you did when you applied for undergraduate schools. There are certain steps you must take to successfully apply and get into one of your top schools of choice. First, do your research. Make a list of 7-10 schools that you would be interested in and can actually see yourself attending. Then find out what each of these schools require for admission. Different schools have different requirements so make sure you keep track of each one carefully. Which standardized test is required for your application? If you find out you need to take the GRE, hire a GRE tutor! Your scores should be at least in the 75th percentile to be considered by any graduate program. Don’t take any of these tests lightly. Remember, that you are competing with top students from all over for admission, so a higher score will only improve your chances. Good scores on the GRE, GMAT, or LSAT are especially beneficial for people who didn’t have the most stellar undergraduate grades.
Next, write your personal statements. All schools will have different prompts for their personal statements but fortunately, most of them will be very similar. You may need to tweak them a few times to adjust to each schools prompt. Make sure you spend a significant amount of time on your essays. Your statement is your one shot to give admissions a glimpse of your personality, which can’t be seen in transcripts or test scores. Have someone edit your paper several times, preferably someone who is familiar with graduate level essay writing. I had my GMAT tutor edit my essays because he had already been through the same thing a couple years ago when he was applying for grad schools. He obviously knew what it takes to get into a top school. Allow yourself plenty of time to write your statements. We all had a few papers in college that we put off till the last minute and had to pull an all-nighter to write. This will not be one of those papers! Do not put this off. You should have a rough draft of your statements done at least one month before your deadlines to allow yourself plenty of time to make changes. When your statements are complete, edit them and proofread them multiple times. Read it outloud to yourself to catch minor mistakes. Your statements should be something you feel proud of.
Make sure you submit all required documents to your schools of choice. If they require official transcripts, allow yourself plenty of time to get them from your undergraduate school. Sometimes they take a couple weeks to come in the mail or to be sent to your schools. Finally, submit everything on time! Schools will not accept late admissions. It is extremely important to remain organized throughout this process so you can ensure you are submitting everything in a timely manner. Once everything is finalized, wait for your acceptances! In the meantime while you wait to hear back from your schools, do your research to prepare yourself for grad school. Start considering living situations, check out different resources the school offers, and consider hiring a tutor in the area beforehand to prep for your studies. HeyTutor is a really good resource for finding a tutor. A lot of schools also create facebook groups for students who recently applied, in which you can connect with other people who are eagerly waiting on their decisions as well. Keep in mind, you will most likely not get into every single one of the schools you applied to. However, it only takes one acceptance to obtain a higher education! Good luck!