Managing the application process for several schools simultaneously can be cumbersome. Develop a system early to help you stay organized and mindful of deadlines. Below is a list of commonly required application materials:
CV or Resume
Most applications require an academic CV as part of the application process. Check out our CV writing resources below and be sure to have your CV reviewed by both Career Services and faculty within your academic area.
Personal Statement / Statement of Purpose
This is a component of the application and serves a couple of purposes. First, it is a writing sample that demonstrates your written communication skills. Second, it provides the reader with your "story." You need to be able to clearly articulate your interest in the field, your experiences to date that helped shape your goals, what you will bring to a graduate program, how a graduate degree will help you accomplish your career goals, and why THIS program at THIS university is the best fit for you to be successful.
Department Specific Requirements
Many departments require supplemental essays or applications. Be sure to address the questions that are asked and have your materials reviewed by others.
Many programs require GRE scores as part of the application process. The GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is a standardized test administered by Educational Testing Services (ETS). Most programs require the General GRE and many also require the Subject GRE.
Taking the GRE is an investment in both time and money. Be sure to prepare for the GRE by using print and electronic resources. ETS offers a free PowerPrep series that provides you with two sample GRE tests. Take the first one to establish a baseline to identify your weakest areas to help you focus your time and energy. When you take the GRE, you can input four schools to have your scores sent to automatically as part of your testing fee.
After receiving your scores, supplemental score reports can be sent to additional schools for a per-school fee.If you are simply continuing your education to avoid the job search process, schedule an appointment with Career Services. Sometimes, students lean towards continuing their education because academia is familiar and the job search process can be intimidating. The Office of Career Services can demystify the job search process.
Most graduate programs will require three letters of recommendation. This is an important component of the application process. Be sure to select your recommenders wisely. They need to be able to attest to your skills and abilities to be successful in pursuing graduate education and accomplishing your career goals.
Ideally, your recommenders will be faculty members who know you well and can share more about you than that you come to class and do well on exams. Also, be mindful of the deadline and time considerations. Give your recommenders adequate time to compose a strong recommendation letter and provide them with a deadline prior to the final application deadline to allow for time to follow up if necessary.
Keep in mind, most doctoral and professional programs (and some masters programs) require an interview as a part of the selection process. Work with Career Services to develop and practice your interviewing skills.