Graduate School

If you are thinking about going to a graduate or professional school, you need to PREPARE.

You must

  • Research schools
  • Meet academic requirements
  • Apply for admission
  • Get accepted
  • If applicable, you should also register with the Pre-Health or Pre-Law Programs

The Student Success Center offers prep courses and testing dates for the GRE, GMAT and LSAT tests.

A comparison of schools and programs across the country, application and interview tips, and reviews can be found through

Research Available Programs

Graduate programs
Graduate School Expo
Health Professions Advising Center
Pre-Law Advising and Resource Center
Teacher Development Center's Teacher Certification

Talk with Faculty

Talk with Current Graduate Students

Other Resources

  • FastWeb - The oldest and most popular free online scholarship matching service
  • FinAid - The most comprehensive annotated collection of information about student financial aid on the web, including scholarships
  • FAFSA - U.S. Department of Education site for completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Connects to additional information on aid programs
  • NASFAA - National Association of Student Financial Aid (NASFAA). Several Sections related to financial assistance programs

Pay Attention to Requirements

Prerequisites -

Read the fine print!  Be sure you know if there are course prerequisites or other experiences and/or qualifications required for admission into the program.  Some programs may, however, admit students who do not have all required prerequisites on a probationary status until the requirements are met.

Testing -

Many programs require one or more graduate exams as a part of the application process.  Because these exams are not always offered in convenient locations or at convenient times, be sure you inquire early.  Most of these exams also have a cost attached to them. The UT Dallas Learning Resource Center administers some of the tests referenced above and has more information on many more.

Get Started on Applications Early

Contacting the School -

A direct phone inquiry to the specific department or graduate college of interest to you gives you the opportunity to ask questions, get immediate answers, and clarify confusing details. Be sure you have your questions ready and consider time zone differences. Of course, you may write to the school instead, but it will take longer to get answers to your questions.

Application Forms -

Many schools now have their application forms online. Do not cut corners or be careless. Complete your application materials with care, avoiding errors and misrepresentation of any kind. Be sure to note application deadlines.

Letters of Recommendation -

Most programs require two to four letters of recommendation from former employers, professors, or other individuals who are able to provide insight into your candidacy for the program. Plan ahead and make your selection of reference writers carefully. Give your references plenty of lead time to write the letter so you will not miss application deadlines. Provide them with application deadlines and a stamped, addressed envelope. It would also be beneficial to discuss your interest and the specifics of the program to which you are making application with your references.

Transcripts -

Most programs require that you send a record of all undergraduate and/or other graduate coursework you have completed. An 'official' copy is usually required from the institution that granted you the credit. You will need to provide each institution with the appropriate mailing address(es) and application deadlines. Most institutions assess a transcript fee for each copy requested.

Personal Essay -

Graduate programs also usually require that you submit a personal essay to prove you are a good candidate for their program. This essay should include your academic ability, prior experience, and proof of your dedication to the field of study. Take this step seriously. If an interview is not required, this may be your only opportunity to market yourself directly.

Interviews -

Some graduate programs require a personal interview. A personal interview can work to your advantage. It gives you an opportunity to market yourself and show the level of your interest in person and to gather more specific information about the institution and the program. Be sure to ask about potential interviews early so you can be well-prepared. You may also want to consider scheduling a mock interview opportunity in the Career Center to practice your approach.

Links To Other Resources -

The following links provide additional help in preparing for your application to graduate and/or professional schools.

Consider Financial Matters

Cost of Application Process -

Most schools assess application fees that can range between $20 and $100. There are also costs for graduate exams, having scores sent to schools, and having transcripts sent. It is not uncommon for the entire process to cost several hundred dollars. Keep this in mind when you are considering making application to 10 different programs.

Graduate Assistantships -

Assistantships vary from program to program and from institution to institution.  Some institutions offer a stipend and often some kind of tuition waiver. It is important to submit applications early since there are usually a limited number of positions available and it is a very competitive process. Interviews may also be requested before assistantships are granted; these should be approached like any other employment interview.

Internships -

Some programs offer internships that carry academic credit for your work. Not all of these offer a stipend, but some do.

Scholarships -

Many schools offer graduate scholarship programs.  In addition, there are some federal, state, and locally funded scholarships available to graduate students.  Financial Aid Offices on most campuses can assist you in locating information about various scholarship programs.

Educational Loans -

Another way to fund your educational endeavors is by securing educational loans.  Many of these loan programs carry low interest rates and require no payments until after you secure your degree.  The Financial Aid Office also has information on available graduate student loan programs.

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