» Requirements & Guides


+ - Reasons for Going to Graduate School

Good reasons for attending graduate school include:

  • having career goals that make graduate/professional school necessary
  • wanting to specialize in a particular field
  • to do research and / or teach at the university level
  • to broaden expertise in an area
  • get a better job in your field

Other reasons people attend graduate school are questionable. These include:

  • Unable to get a job with a bachelor's degree because of overcrowding in the field. Many job areas that are glutted for those with undergraduate degrees are also glutted for those at the graduate level. You may be no better off with a graduate degree or you may be overqualified.
  • To avoid looking for a job.
  • Thinking that graduate school will help you decide on a career goal. You are expected to have career goals when you apply to graduate/professional school.
  • You don't know what else to do.

It is expected now after college, (i.e. your parents or professors expect it while you remain undecided). 

+ - Typical Admission Requirements

Generally, graduate school admission is based on the following:

  • Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution of higher education.
  • Some minimum G.P.A. in the last two years of undergraduate study (Minimum generally ranges from 2.75 to 3.0 on a 4 point scale)
  • Some preparation in the proposed field of study including an acceptable G.P.A. on undergraduate coursework in the proposed field of study.
  • Experience which is relevant to the proposed field of study. Additional Requirements may be:
  • Admissions tests - GRE, MAT, GMAT, LSAT, MCAT
  • Undergraduate transcripts
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Interview
  • Special admission requirements: work sample or portfolio

+ - Entrance Exams

Most colleges require an SAT or ACT score for admission, and similarly, most graduate programs require a standardized test score as part of the application procedure. Most tests are designed to measure general skills and knowledge over a long period of time. Before you take any graduate school test, make sure you know which test your school or program requests.

The Educational Testing Service, which administers the GRE and the GMAT, is gradually phasing out its paper-based testing and moving to computer-based testing. In fact, April 1999 is the last scheduled paper-based GRE General Test. The LSAT, MCAT, and GRE Subject Tests are still paper-based. The advantage to the computer-based testing is convenience (year-round testing), quicker turnaround of scores (see scores immediately after the exam and before deciding where to send them), and schools receive them more quickly (10-15 days after testing). ETS says that scores between paper-based and computer-based tests are comparable. Testing time also is shorter because as you answer each question, CBT analyzes your answers and make sure that successive questions are right for you. This avoids wasting time answering questions that are too difficult or too easy. Because of this system, you cannot skip a question or backtrack to change and answer.

Prepping for an exam like this is crucial so be sure to look up tests guides to help you be as prepared as possible. Visit Consumer Affairs to find the best prep guide for your graduate school admissions.

+ - Common Tests

GRE (Graduate Record Exam)
The Graduate Record Exam is the most widely used graduate school exam. The GRE General Test measures verbal, quantitative, and analytical abilities that are important for academic achievement. GRE Subject Tests sometimes are required and these measure achievement in a particular subject area and assume an undergraduate major or extensive background in that discipline. Please note that beginning in fall 1999 a GRE Writing Assessment will be offered. This test is separate from the GRE General and Subject tests.

GMAT (Graduate Management Aptitude Test)
The GMAT measures general verbal, mathematical and analytical writing skills that are associated with success in the first year of study at graduate schools of management. It does not presuppose any specific knowledge of business or of other specific content areas.

LSAT (Law School Admissions Test)
The LSAT measures skills that are considered essential for success in law school: the reading and comprehension of complex text with accuracy and insight; the organization and management of information and the ability to draw reasonable inference from it; the ability to reason critically; and the analysis and evaluation of the reasoning and argument of others.

MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test)
The MCAT is designed to assess whether you possess the foundation upon which to build a successful medical career. Though you certainly need to know content to do well, the stress is on thought process. Every section tests higher-order thinking skills such as analytical reasoning, abstract thinking and problem solving-skills that are essential for success in medical school. The test is made up of four timed sections.

+ - Questions to Ask When Selecting a Grad School

Use this guide to help you when selecting your grad school. These are all important questions to both as and consider when making your final decision.

Questions to Ask When Selecting a Grad School

+ - Graduate School Web Sites

GradSchools.com  (www.gradschools.com)
Search from over 60,000 master degree, doctoral degree, and graduate certificate programs. Search by field of study, subject, graduate school or metro area nationwide and internationally. Create your own account to save program information, deadlines, and events.

GradSource.Com  (www.gradsource.com)
Find information on programs, admissions, facilities and expenses to help you compare schools. Virtual tours are available for some schools. You can request information on the school profile or link directly to the school's website as well as access articles from GradSource magazine on all aspects of graduate study.

Kaplan  (www.kaptest.com)
Provides general graduate school and financial aid information and specific admission test information including practice tests and test preparation guidance.

Peterson’s Their Graduate Planner includes sections on how to get started in your graduate school search, find a school, prepare for tests, and pay for school.

The Princeton Review
Provides information on graduate admission tests, programs, school rankings, and scholarships; free online practice tests; application advice; and more.

U.S. News     
More than 1,200 graduate programs in such disciplines as business, law, medicine, sciences social sciences and humanities, fine arts and more are ranked. Also includes articles on preparing and paying for graduate school, tips and statistics, and other topics

College Affordability Guide OUR MISSION: to provide clear, correct info and advice on the many options students have to reduce the cost of their degree, and to offer a fresh analysis of which colleges are doing the most to make high-quality education affordable

Mometrix Test Preparation Mometrix Academy provides an extensive and growing library of GRE prep videos, all free of charge.


+ - Writing the Grad School Essay

The grad school essay is a vital part of the admission process. This is the first thing that your desired school uses to evaluate you. Take time to research what makes for a good entrance essay and give yourself plenty of time to complete it. Here is a quick guide to help you on your way.

Writing the Graduate School Essay

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