Depending on your goals, graduate school can open the door to a new and exciting career for you. Certain career fields will require additional education past the Bachelor of Arts or Science degree, but it is a big decision! Weigh the value of a graduate degree in terms of earning potential, entry into a profession, advancement, and competitiveness as well as:

  • Time commitment
  • Financial considerations
  • Personal adjustments while in school
  • Your readiness to pursue graduate level work

Choosing a School

When looking for schools, try to learn about these few things:
Faculty
Number of faculty, credentials and reputation

Academic program
Accreditation, course offerings, rate of completion, admissions policies, reputation and ranking

Resources
Facilities for students, cost of living, financial support, housing, and transportation

Students
Satisfaction with program, gender and ethnic diversity, employment, and professional accomplishments of graduates


Application Process

When applying to graduate schools, tailor the way you present yourself and your achievements to each specific program. You may be required to supply these items in order to be considered for admission:
  • Completed application
  • Official undergraduate transcript(s)
  • Personal essay/statement of purpose
  • Required entrance exam scores
  • Letters of recommendations
  • Writing sample, portfolio, audition as requested
  • Application fee
  • Personal interview

NOTE: The Writing Center helps with writing personal statements.


Entrance Exams

Schools will designate which, if any, qualifying examinations are required for your chosen discipline. Plan to take the appropriate entrance examination during your junior year or at the latest during the fall of your senior year if you plan to go on to graduate school immediately after college.

The Graduate School Process

Graduate Student

Start the process of applying for graduate school 16 to 24 months in advance of matriculation. View key tasks you are recommended to complete each semester below.

Spring
Research areas of interest, institutions, and programs.

Talk to your career counselor and professors about interests, schools, and application requirements.
Summer
Register and prepare for appropriate entrance exams.

Investigate national scholarships.

Contact schools for application materials.
Fall
Check Mason's Graduate Admissions for local graduate admissions events.

Take required entrance exams.

Visit institutions of interest.

Write your application essays.

Check application deadlines and rolling admission policies.

Register for the national centralized services application or data assembly service your program uses, e.g. for medical, dental, osteopathy, podiatry, or law school.
Winter
Obtain letters of recommendation.

Send in completed applications. 
Spring
Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the CSS Financial Aid PROFILE.

Check with all institutions before the deadline to make sure your file is complete.

Visit the institutions that accept you.

Send a deposit to your institution of choice.

Notify other institutions that accepted you of your decision so that they may admit students on their waiting list.

Send thank you notes to people who wrote recommendation letters informing them of your success.

Prepare for Graduate School

College to Graduate School (UNIV 421) is a one-credit course for second semester juniors and seniors focusing on the transition to graduate school. You will learn about application and testing options and strategies, interviewing skills, budgeting and financial planning, and career development. 

Register for this class through Patriot Web.