Application Process

Graduate & Professional School



Requesting and Submitting Application Materials

Once you’ve identified graduate programs that you would like to apply for, complete and submit your application materials.  This is often done online, but may also be done by requesting application materials that will be sent to you.  As you apply, keep track deadlines and of what each program requires from you to complete your application, as not all requirements will be the same. 

Connect with your letter writers to make sure they have the information on how to submit their recommendation.  For more information on letters of recommendation, click here. 



Taking Admissions Tests

Graduate programs usually require at least one admission test, and some will require additional subject tests. Plan ahead and allow plenty of time to prepare for the test.  It may take additional time for scores to be sent to the school of your choice.  Test sites fill quickly in the fall, so register early.  Click here for more information on admissions tests. 


Personal Statements

Obtaining Letters of Recommendation

Most graduate schools will require two or three letters of recommendation.  Consider both professors and professionals in the field of your intended study.  It is important that you know the letter writer well enough for them to write you a strong letter.

Identify those whom you’d like to write your letters and make an appointment to meet with them.  Inform them of the schools you are applying to and your goals and career plans.  If the person agrees to write you a letter, provide them with materials that will assist them in writing a strong letter, such as your résumé, personal statement, a copy of transcripts, or relevant coursework/research you have competed. 

Provide your letter writers with the official recommendation forms, along with stamped and addressed envelopes.  Inform them of the deadline and give them plenty of time.  It takes time to write a good letter!

If you are applying for a pre-health professions program (MD, DO, PA, Dental, Pharmacy, PT, OT, and Veterinary) use the Letter of Recommendation Online System to send information and requests to your letter writers


Focus on Financial Aid

Be sure to request financial aid information when requesting admission information from the institutions of your choice.

Some options for paying for graduate school may include:

  • Assistantships/fellowships: Check if your institution offers graduate assistantships and fellowships.  Ask and apply early. 
  • Student Loans: Examine loan terms carefully.
    • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): for federally back student loans.
    • Graduate and Professional School Financial Aid Service (GAPSFAS): used for determining financial aid and distribution.
  • Grants or scholarships from the institution: Your institution may have merit-based or need-based scholarships and grants. Check with the Financial Aid Office at your school for eligibility and the application process.



Submitting Completed Applications

It is your responsibility to make sure your application is complete.  Before submitting all of your materials, make a copy for your records.  After submission, follow up with admissions office to confirm your file is complete and ready for review. 

You may also want to connect with your letter writers to make sure they have the information on how to submit their recommendation.

What's Next?

  • Try to relax while you wait to hear back

    • The process takes time, be patient
  • if you are accepted...
    • Celebrate!

      • Enjoy your success
      • Tell your letter writers and advisors your good news and thank them for their help and support
  • if you are not accepted...
    • Almost every graduate school applicant will receive at least one rejection. It is not fun - but do not give up hope.

      • Gain more experience
      • Contact the schools for feedback on ways to improve your application
      • Connect with Career Development about options

adapted from:

Updated 4/16/2015 JMV