How to Get Into Grad Program of Your Choice? Understand Keys to Grad School Admission
There are five keys to getting accepted into the graduate program that it best suited for you -- and the better you accomplish all five the more likely you'll have options to choose among the grad schools that accept you.
Keys to Getting Accepted Into Graduate School
Know Why You Want a Graduate Degree
Answer these questions: What is a grad degree going to do for you? How will the degree advance your career? What type of graduate degree is best suited to your needs?Your goal should be to take the time to research and understand both the sacrifices and rewards associated with attending grad school -- which should also help you narrow your focus to the key degree you seek. Note: It's not a good idea to simply get an advanced degree simply to avoid a bad job market.
Research Graduate Programs
Almost every graduate discipline offers multiple degree options and most graduate schools specialize within those disciplines. Use secondary research sources that rank/rate programs but dig more deeply with primary research by visiting the Websites campuses (if possible) and networking with people who are in the programs and/or graduates.Your goal should be as informed a consumer as possible. Don't just pick grad schools based on rankings reputations or recommendations. Do your due diligence and the payoff will be great.
Solicit Key & Powerful Recommendations
Through your research you should uncover the types of recommenders that each program most respects wants. These are the people who need to write letters of recommendation for you.Your goal is then to ask key people in your network who fit the profile -- for each program. Typically you'll ask college professors from your undergrad days a current or former supervisor and other professionals with key credentials.
Nail the Graduate School Exam
Every graduate program uses your standardized exam score as part of its decision process: GRE for many graduate programs; GMAT for MBA programs; LSAT for law school; MCAT for medical school; DAT for dental school; VCAT for veterinary school.Your goal should be to maximize your score on your grad school admission exam. Prep with the method that best works for you: books dvd and/or classes/tutoring.
Crush Each Grad Program Application
Remember back to your high school days and completing college applications? Same rules apply here: Read instructions for each thoroughly and complete them in a timely fashion -- well before the deadline.Your goal is to market yourself to each program tailoring some of your answers and personal essays to the needs and unique elements of each school/program.
Final Thoughts/Tips on Getting into Grad School
Remember that many of the best graduate programs want to see you have some experience in your field that you have proven leadership abilities and a strong undergraduate record.Finally consider using your network of contacts to connect with key faculty members in the grad programs you most want to attend. Developing a rapport with a faculty member BEFORE applying to a grad program can give you an edge -- both in understanding the program as well as in consideration for admission.