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Career Services 

 Application Process for Graduate School 



Are you getting ready to apply to graduate or professional school and wonder what you will need to provide? According to the College Board, you may be asked for any or all of the following:

Application Fee 

  • Most colleges and universities charge a non-refundable application fee.
  • Many will waive the fee for applicants from low-income families.
  • Check with the individual schools.

Application Form 

  • Almost all institutions will require an official application form that provides information about your background, previous education, and graduate school plans.

College Transcripts 

  • You will probably be required to supply the institution with a copy of your undergraduate academic transcript.
  • Requests for transcripts may be made at the Registrar's Office or in Academic Records.
  • Visit How To Order Transcripts.

Admissions Test Scores 

  • Many colleges require that you take one or more standardized admissions tests.
  • Plan to take these tests several months before the application deadline to allow enough time to report the score to each college.
  • Check out the Standardized Testing that the Office of Career Education & Development administers on campus.

Letters of Recommendation 

  • Most graduate schools require that you submit one or more letters of recommendation from a professor, advisor, counselor, alumnus, or adult member of the community.
  • If possible, choose people who not only know you well, but who are also familiar with the graduate school you want to attend.
  • Depending on the program, you may want to use faculty members as well as professionals in your field.
  • Be sure to provide plenty of time for people to write these letters for you.
  • Bring them the recommendation form, and a self-addressed stamped envelope if necessary.
  • You may also want to supply your references with a copy of your resume or relevant coursework to help them write you an appropriate recommendation.
  • Get help on Obtaining References.

Personal Essay 

  • Some institutions require a personal essay or autobiographical statement.
  • The essay can be especially important if you are not able to have an interview.
  • This is your chance to express personally your background, interests and goals, and why you are interested in this graduate field of study and the particular institution.
  • Read the essay instructions carefully, paying careful attention to length limitations.
  • The best essay will be clear, concise and to the point.
  • Show the graduate school that you are articulate, realistic, and a competent writer.
  • Grammar, punctuation, and spelling count, so be sure that your essay is perfect before you submit it with your application.
  • View the guide to Personal Statements and Essays.


  • Many colleges require or recommend an interview of all or some of their applicants.
  • Whether it is required or not, it is to your benefit to set up an interview. This is your chance to express personally your background, interests and goals, and why you are interested in this graduate field of study.
  • The interview is also a chance for the institution to see how you react to stress and handle pressure situations.
  • You may also be asked to address such topics as your motivation for graduate study, areas of interest, personal philosophy, career goals, related research, and work experience. Prepare and dress for a graduate interview as you would a job interview.
  • Below are some example questions you could be asked:
  • Below are some example questions you as the interviewee may want to ask:

  Audition or Portfolio

  • If you are applying for admission to a particular program at the university, such as music, art or design, you may have to demonstrate or document prior work.
  • Each institution's requirements are included in their graduate school catalog.
  • Most programs set specific requirements as to what material is appropriate for the audition, how long the performance should be, whether it should be memorized, and so on.



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