How do I prepare for Grad School?

From the point at which you decide to pursue graduate education, there are a number of steps you should take to better prepare yourself for the application process and the rigors of graduate education. These include taking appropriate academic coursework in your intended area of study, conducting or participating in research activities in the field, and gaining related clinical or work experience.


What is involved in the graduate school application process?

Aside from the actual application form and fee, there are a number of parts to the application package. They can be broken down into two major categories-

quantitative data and qualitative data.

Quantitative data consists of your GPA and your standardized test score. For most applicants, this will be the GRE. Also referred to as threshold data, they are sometimes used to initially screen out candidates.

Qualitative data is comprised of the more subjective parts of the application package. These include your statement of purpose, resume or curriculum vitae, letters of recommendation, admissions interviews, and any other subjective work such as portfolios, writing samples, or auditions.


When should I take the GRE?

If possible, it is best to take the exam during the summer before the Fall semester in which you plan to apply. If you are planning to attend graduate school immediately following college, this would be in the summer after your junior year.

The reason for this is that you can use your entire junior year to prepare for the exam and use part of the summer to do intense prep without the distractions of schoolwork. If you do not achieve the score that you want, you can retake the exam. However, how multiple scores are treated is school-specific. Check with your graduate program admissions office.

If a program that you are applying to requires you to take a subject test, you will need to register for that exam in enough time to take it and get your score submitted to the school in a timely fashion.