So you thought you were done with applications when you were applying to high schools, and then again when you were finishing off with your college applications for undergraduate college… and now you’re thinking that you might want to pursue graduate school! You may be pulling at your hair wondering, what am I supposed to do now? No one prepped me for this! Don’t fret! I was in the same boat as you and I want to help 🙂 Here are some tips I’d like to share for y’all who are still in school and thinking about applying to grad school.
- Talk to your professors! (You will need references from them down the road!)
If you’re that shy student who doesn’t like to raise their hand in class, make the effort to go up to your professor after class to ask questions, or send emails to engage in some way. Make yourself known to your professors, because you will need their recommendations coming out of school, whether it’s for a job recommendation or for graduate school. When I was applying to school, I needed at least 2 academic references and 1 professional reference. I forced myself to raise my hand at least once or twice a week in each of my classes so my professors started to know my name and who I was. In your college career, there’s bound to be at least one professor whose class you really enjoy, so make an effort to be engaged! She/he will appreciate your participation and it will be reflected when you ask them for a reference. 🙂
- Start looking up programs and visiting prospective schools.
Visit campuses and go on road trips and see if you can see yourself attending classes at these schools for the next # of years. Take advantage of your college breaks (Thanksgiving, Christmas/New Year, Spring, and Summer) to visit the schools you may be interested in. Go with family or friends and make it fun! You can either schedule a visit with the school, or go on your own time just to check it out and get a feel for the vibe of the environment. I was able to get in touch with the Admissions office and professors for many of my schools and they all made efforts to meet with me when I visited, and even went out of their way to offer tours if I wanted them. If you don’t ask, the answer is always gonna be no, so it doesn’t hurt to reach out!
- Enroll in prep classes for those graduate school exams or study in your free time (GREs, GMATs, LSATs, MCATs, DATs, and all that jazz!)
I can’t stress enough that if you’re not an uber genius, you’re gonna need to prep for your grad school exam. It’s been a little over a year since I graduated so I’m a little unsure of the exact timeline of how long I studied before I took my exams, but I know I was studying for a good half a year when I was still in undergrad before I took my GRE shortly after graduating. Let me tell you, IT WAS HECTIC. If you’re not rushing to take your exam, then allot a good chunk of time (at least half a year to a full year) of studying at least 1 or 2 hours a day for your exam because if you thought the SATs were hard, you’re in for a treat… haha 😡 I don’t mean to scare you, but it’s always better to be over-prepared than underprepared! It all depends on your preference of studying, so try what works for you 🙂
- Take advantage of your college resources (your college advisor, writing center, tutoring center, etc.)
Whether it’s getting advice on fixing up your resume, or helping you revise your personal statement, they can do wonders! I was fortunate enough to have a wonderful Honors Director who helped read my personal statements and provided critiques before I submitted my applications.
- Look up your schools’ application requirements and start preparing any and all necessary documents!
This seems intuitive, but some schools may ask for specific things that you didn’t prepare for, such as supplement questions for the program to which you’re applying. I’m pretty sure you’ll always need the following: official transcript (for every school you apply, so contact your undergrad to request for them!), resume, personal statement, references, and sometimes your coursework (and yes, that is gonna be reaaaaal tedious haha).
Keep your head up and I wish you all the best of luck! If you know anyone who is planning on applying to grad school, I encourage you to share this post 🙂 My beloved readers, if you have any other tips to share from your experiences applying to schools, I’d love to read your comments below!!