College Advice Blog

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May 18, 2010

Preparing for Graduate School

Graduate Schools in the U.S. - 2010: Nearly 1,000 Gradute and Professional Schools (Peterson's Graduate Schools in the Us)Did you just complete your bachelor's degree? Are you now considering graduate school as the next step in your life? Well,  whether you are interested in medicine, law, business, psychology or any other field, you need to know some basics about graduate school.

This guide will assume you have done absolutely nothing, which means you will need to take at least 6-12 months to plan things out. First, decide whether you want to pursue a master’s degree or a Ph.D. Yes, with some programs you can jump to the Ph.D without doing a master’s beforehand.

Once you have decided on which graduate degree/program you will pursue, you need to find out which tests are required. This is important as a first step in preparing for graduate school because some tests are not offered that often and you need time to prepare. Thus, the sooner you know about the tests the better. To get an idea of the tests required for graduate school here is a list of some: for medical school you will need the MCAT, for psychology Ph.D programs, you will need the general GRE and sometimes the subject GRE as well, and for law school you will need to take the LSAT. This just an idea, please check each graduate program directly to find out what test/s are required.

Next you will need to schedule an appointment to take the exam required a few months to a year beforehand so that you will have time to study. Once you have the date start studying as you are preparing for graduate school.

Afterward, you need to look into possible graduate schools that interest you. Narrow the list down to as many as you can afford to send out application fees to. If you can get a waiver from your financial aid office, do so. (Some schools also provide waivers for exams).

Once you have the list of the graduate schools you are interested in, you need make a list of each school’s requirement. There will be many requirements such as letters of recommendations, transcripts, exam scores, applications, fees, etc. Start gathering these things in an organized manner and DO NOT forget deadlines. These deadlines are mostly strictly enforced, but some graduate schools will be a little lenient with certain requirements arriving late. However, you must check with each school first!

Finally, remember that although this is one of the most drenching, overwhelming and tiring process you will ever have to deal with, the end results will be worth it. Keep envisioning those acceptance letters and the doors that will open up for you once you are in graduate school. Remember to stay positive and reward yourself no matter what the outcome is.

How do You Prepare for Graduate School?
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