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Want to Get into Graduate School? Here's How...

Want to Get into Graduate School? Here's How...

Bridget Kulla,

If you’ve decided to head back to the classroom for an advanced degree, get ready to face some competition. Between 2004 and 2016, the number of masters degrees granted is expected to increase by 35 percent. To stand out from the pack, get organized to make your graduate application shine.

Graduate school applications generally require:

  • • Transcript
  • GRE or other standardized test scores
  • • Letters of recommendation
  • • Personal statement and/or admissions essay(s)
  • • Audition, manuscript, portfolio – usually only required for creative fields like visual arts, dance or creative writing

For students planning to start graduate school in the fall, application deadlines can range from as early as August to as late as spring, although most deadlines fall between December and March. Don’t wait until then to start your application. Follow a general timeline:


  • • Ask for letters of recommendation
  • • Sign up for graduate school exams like the GRE (Graduate Record Examination, required for graduate programs that do not require one of the following subject-specific tests), MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test, required for medical school), LSAT (Law School Admissions Test, required for law school), DAT (Dental Admissions Test, required for dental school), or GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test, required for business school).


  • • Take graduate school exams
  • • Request application materials
  • • Research sources of financial aid
  • • Arrange for official transcripts to be sent

Late Fall:

  • • Complete your applications (Don’t forget to save a copy!)
  • • Finalize your essays


  • • Send in your completed applications
  • • File your FAFSA
  • • Apply for financial aid


  • • Visit campuses
  • • Prepare for interviews
  • • Submit your acceptance or decline admission