Check admission and application requirements carefully. Some programs may require work experience, specific research experience, or a portfolio. Make sure you've taken the necessary standardized test before beginning the application process.

Application Cycle

Many deadlines fall between January and March, but some programs have rolling admission. Read each school's information and plan accordingly! You may have a slight advantage applying at least a month before the deadline. Know the requirements well ahead of time and try to prepare your application 6 months to year in advance.

Letters of Recommendation

Most graduate programs require three letters of recommendation, but you should always check the school's individual requirements. When asking a professor or employer to write a letter of recommendation, do so in person if at all possible. If they agree, furnish and discuss with them appropriate details such as a transcript, resume/CV, an example of your class work, or any accomplishments, special projects or promotions.


You can arrange to have your transcript sent to graduate schools through the registrar's office by mail, or in person. If you took classes at other institutions or studied abroad you will need to contact these programs to request an official transcript be sent to your graduate schools.


Applicants to graduate school often disregard the importance of essays in the admission process. The manner in which you express your experience and portray your motivations in an essay can have a major impact on the final outcome. Budget a substantial amount of time to writing your essays. Some graduate programs, such as business school or psychology, require more than one essay.

Resume/Curriculum Vitae

Be sure to include a current and well organized resume or CV in your application. While you have an opportunity to discuss your experience, academic background and career goals in your essays, the resume or CV helps the admissions committee to easily review and summarize your experience.


There is nothing mysterious about the interview; just be yourself and be prepared to talk about your work experience or research, academic interests, future goals and why you want to pursue graduate or professional school. It also wise to research the program prior to an interview, so that you are clear on why you wish to pursue the degree and how this specific program fits your goals.