Each school has a different application timeline. Plan accordingly and know the requirements as far in advance as possible. The sooner you prepare your application, the more prepared and confident you will be when it is time to apply.
Overview of the process.
Click here for a comprehensive overview of what the application process looks like, published by the Committee on Institutional Cooperation.
Graduate school exams.
Determine which standardized test is required for your preferred graduate program and give yourself adequate time to prepare for the exam. Common exams are the GRE, MCAT, and LSAT. Consider taking the exam in your senior year of undergraduate school. Research on the internet and discover the resources that can help prepare you for the test(s) you will be required to take.
Kaplan.com– Offers an extensive guide to practicing for high school exams, college entrance exams, graduate school entrance exams, as well as other tests. They offer assistance online as well as in person.
Magoosh GRE Prep– This app offers over a thousand practice questions and many videos that encompass different sections of the graduate exams.
Fill out the application form.
Make sure you are admitted to the university before enrolling in graduate school. Once you are admitted, fill out the application for your graduate program. Most universities now allow prospective students to fill out the application online. Be prepared to budget for application fees, which vary from school to school. However, some schools may offer fee waivers; contact them to see your options. To view and complete the graduate application for admission for the University of Louisville, please click here.
Letters of recommendation.
Most universities require at least two or three letters written on your behalf, and at least one should be from a faculty member. Here are useful tips:
i) Meet with the people you have chosen to write the letters; ask them in person if possible, or over the phone if that is not possible. State your reason for coming to them and share with them the program you are interested in studying. Also make sure to provide them with your transcript, resume, any special programs you are involved in, any awards you have received, etc.
ii) Give your recommenders time in advance to write the letter. Be sure to give them clear instructions and firm deadlines.
iii) Always thank the recommenders. Do this either by writing a “thank you” note/letter or e-mail.
Write your personal statement.
Make an appointment with one of our Career Coaches to learn how to write a dynamic, eye-catching personal statement. The application will give you instructions and guidelines on what to include in the essay. Depending on the program, the amount of flexibility you have in shaping the personal essay varies. Be consistent, clear, and organized throughout the essay, while maintaining a personal, straightforward tone.
Resume or Curriculum Vita or “CV” (if applicable).
Learn how to create a superb resume or CV by making an appointment with a Career Coach. Our office can assist with revamping and polishing your document to make it stand out among the rest.
Most, if not all, universities require an official transcript from any and all institutions you have previously attended. Contact the university’s Registrar’s Office to order official transcripts.
Be prepared to interview with the graduate program you apply for, as this is a requirement of many graduate programs. This is your chance to speak about your work and research experience, current and future goals, academic pursuits, and why you are interested in applying for graduate school. Research the program before the interview to formulate one of the most important answers you will need to give: how the program corresponds with your goals and interests. For help with preparing for the interview, sample interview questions, and tips for nailing it, have a look at GradSchools.com’s extensive guide. Our office can also help you hone your interviewing skills by offering mock interviews. Visit us to receive personalized, immediate feedback and suggestions for improving your skills.