Applying to Graduate School

Take a look at these five steps to get a jump start on your graduate school search and application process.


1. Determine which programs are right for you.

Is graduate school the right fit for you at this point in your life? As you consider your options, talk to your faculty members and your Career Coach to learn more about the graduate programs available in your field.

Some things to consider are geographic location, cost of the program, available financial aid, institutional resources, reputation of the program, and career advancement opportunities.

2. Know the testing requirements.

Not all graduate programs require standardized testing as part of the admission process, however, here are some common tests:

The following resources can help you prepare for these tests:

3. Write your personal statement.

Many programs will require a written essay addressing specific components of your field of study and related personal experiences. If there are prompts provided, use them to guide your writing. In all cases, have other people (faculty, career coach, writing center) critique your personal statement to ensure that your essay is error-free and relevant.

4. Prepare your resume or C.V.

There is a distinct difference between a resume and a C.V. Some graduate programs will ask specifically for one or the other, so it's important to know the difference.

  • The main differences between a resume and a CV are length, content and purpose.

  • Resumes are typically one to two pages while CVs have no length restrictions but are typically between three and ten pages.

  • A resume is a concise, curated summary of your professional accomplishments that are most relevant to the industry job you’re applying for. Depending on your level of professional experience and the role, you may also include descriptions of academic and personal projects or volunteer work.

  • A CV is a comprehensive, in-depth document presenting your relevant academic and professional achievements that are often used when applying for teaching or research positions.

  • When deciding whether to submit a resume or a CV, consider the role and geographic location of the position. If you’re in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask a representative of the organization such as the hiring manager, recruiter or an HR representative to help you decide.

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For help with your resume or C.V., please review the information on our resume website and reach out to your career coach for personalized attention.

5. Gather common application materials.

Some common required documents are:

Your career coach is a resource available to help support your graduate application process.