Although the actual process of applying to different graduate programs may vary slightly from one another, in general, you will be required to have much of the same information available.
- Undergraduate Transcripts
Request your undergraduate transcripts directly from all universities and community colleges you have attended. When you request your transcripts, you will need to provide the names and addresses of the graduate schools where you would like your transcripts sent. Verify you will be sending your transcripts to the correct place.
There could be a fee associated with each transcript you request. Be sure to allow several weeks for the processing of your transcripts.
- Graduate Admission Test Scores
Graduate schools generally require a graduate admissions test that varies according to the type of program you seek. You can find out which test is required by looking on the application form or contacting the program directly.
Plan on taking the one you need at least 3-4 months before the deadline for submitting your application. If you feel the test may be difficult, you may want to give yourself extra time to retake the test should your score not be acceptable. Scores are typically good for up to five years.
- Letters of Recommendation
Graduate schools typically require 2 to 5 letters of recommendation. Applicants pursuing graduate school immediately after their undergraduate work will want at least one of their letters to be from a professor, while those entering graduate school after several years of work will rely primarily on their professional work references.
- Statement of Purpose
Another piece of your application will be your Statement of Purpose. It could also be called a personal statement, application letter, or admissions essay. This is your opportunity to convince the admissions committee that you are qualified to pursue graduate study and to highlight why their particular program is such a strong fit for your academic and career goals. Research and become familiar with the mission, vision, and values of that program so that you can articulate your fit within their culture. Be prepared to write an essay or statement on your background and interests as they pertain to your study in the field.