Preparing for Grad School
Graduate or Professional School: Should I Go? Where? How?
1. Should I go to graduate or professional school?Are you ready to commit the next two years (masters) or 4-8 years (doctorate) to graduate studies? Are you also ready to commit a yearly average of $13,000 (public) or $28,000 (private)? Fully explore every aspect of your chosen career by doing the following:
- Talk with faculty members and graduate students in your chosen area.
- Check out websites and conferences of related professional associations.
- Meet with professionals to see what the work is really like.
- Get first-hand experience by doing an internship, related part-time job or volunteer experience in your career field of interest.
- Gain research experience with a faculty member.
- Join a related WSSU club/organization
- Attend the WSSU Graduate and Professional School Fair to speak directly with school representatives.
It is very important to get information from professionals in your field about education and other qualifications, typical work settings, employment outlook, salaries and other recommend sources of career information.
2. Which academic programs should I consider?
Your career exploration in Step 1 may provide some recommended program or institutions. Talk with WSSU faculty, advisors or professionals in your area of interest to get their suggestions. This may help narrow down the list of potential institutions.
When evaluating program, consider:
- Admissions requirements
- Academic program emphasis
- Reputation/program quality
- Cost & financial aid
- Location and size
- Post-grad school employment opportunities
3. How do I apply for graduate or professional school?
The application checklist in this brochure outlines the timeline for your application activities. Pay close attention to the published application process at your selected institutions and meet their deadlines (usually eight (8) months before your entrance date).
Most graduate and professional schools require a copy of your college transcript, letters of recommendation and a personal statement of purpose or application essay. Some programs may require an interview, resume or portfolio of work samples from previous academic projects or work experiences. In addition, most program as require admissions exams such as the following:
Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
Includes the General Test, which contains a verbal, quantitative and analytical writing section. Some programs may also require a Subject Test that measures knowledge in a particular subject area.
Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT)
The GMAT is required for most Business and MBA programs and measures general verbal and math skills. It does not test specific knowledge in a particular subject area.
Law School Admissions Test (LSAT)
The LSAT is designed to measure abilities need for the student of law. The test includes multiple choice questions designed to assess the ability to read, understand and reason in addition to a writing sample section.
Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT)
The MCAT measures the applicant's ability in chemistry, physics, biology, reading and quantitative analytical skills. The MCAT is given twice each year and applicants are encouraged to take it 18 months prior to enter medical school.
Please contact the Office of Career Services for information on applying for these tests and information on what graduate studies programs are available on our campus.
During Your Junior Year
- Attend the WSSU Graduate and Professional School Fair to speak with school representatives regarding their programs and the overall graduate school experience.
- Attend on-campus or area recruiting workshops or presentations conducted by graduate or professionals schools. The Office of Career Services will place these opportunities on the RamTrak database or distribute e-mails regarding these events.
- Review print & on-line information on specific graduate programs such as test and admissions requirements, accreditation, etc.
- Determine where you want to apply but be aware of application fees. Rank them in order of preference.
- Register and prepare for the appropriate graduate admissions test. The WSSU School of Graduate Studies and Research can help with this process.
Junior Year Summer
- Write for application materials and check on deadlines and admission procedures.
- Visit campuses or programs of interest.
- Write an application essay or statement of purpose.
- Take a practice graduate admission tests.
Senior Year First Semester
- Take the appropriate graduate school admissions test(s).
- Attend the Graduate and Professional School Fair to obtain up-to-date information regarding admissions process and other pertinent information.
- Research financial aid sources, fellowships and assistantships.
- Request letters of recommendation from faculty members.
- Submit your completed applications.
Senior Year Final Semester
- Order official transcripts from the Registrar's Office that contain grades from the first semester of your senior year.
- Register for the GAPSFAS (Graduate and Professional School Financial Aid Service) if required.
- Discuss acceptances, rejections and other career options with Career Service staff or faculty members.
- Once accepted into the program of your choice, submit your deposit and registration materials. Notify other programs of your decision and send thank you notes to references indicating your success in entering a graduate program.