Are You Ready to Apply for Grad School?

October 21, 2016

So you’ve decided you want to go to grad school. Here are a few things you should do before you apply, to ensure that you are grad-school-application ready.

Make Sure You Have the Prerequisites for the Programs You’ll Apply To

Every grad program has different standards. One university’s MBA may require minimal past business experience. Another MBA may only admit students who have at least a few years’ experience in management. A doctorate in Economics may require substantial previous coursework in economics… or it may not. Some grad programs require an undergraduate GPA of 3.5, while other schools might settle for as little as 2.5.

As you look for programs to apply to, carefully read all of their requirements and make sure you are fully qualified. If you’re not sure that you qualify, contact an admissions rep and check. And if you’re just under the qualifications, check with the school see if they still might consider you. But always be sure you have a chance at getting accepted before you actually begin your application process.

Take the Required Entrance Exam

Most graduate programs require applicants to take some kind of entrance exam. Often that’s the GRE, but for certain kinds of degrees, other tests may be required. The GMAT is a common test for business schools, the LSAT is required for law degrees, you need to take the MCAT for med school, and so on.

This particular pre-application activity can cause you a lot of delays if you don’t plan carefully. Stay organized and focused: whether that means choosing the most effective GRE books, finding a good deck of flashcards, or following a GMAT schedule.

Just in case you fall a little short of the score you need, be sure to give yourself enough time to study for a retake if need be. Once you finally do reach your target score, you’ll be almost ready.

Get Your References Lined Up

Grad school applications nearly always require reference letters from previous professors and supervisors. Reference contactsthe emails and phone numbers of people who’ve supervised you or worked with youare also important. Getting those references can seem like a small chore compared to researching schools and taking exams, so it’s easy to let this fall by the wayside. But don’t put this off until the last minuteit’s not always easy to get a reference or recommendation short-notice. Have your references and letters of recommendation ready to go before you move forward with your grad school application process.

About The Author

David Recine, Guest Blogger
David Recine, Guest Blogger

David Recine is a test prep expert at Magoosh. He has a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and a Masters in Teaching English to Speakers of other Languages from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He has been teaching K-12, University, and adult education classes since 2007.




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Ryanh914
UNC ‘18


Accepted to American, Cornell, Northwestern, Florida, Ohio State, FSU, UNC

UNC '18 from Charlotte, NC.
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Duke ‘18


Accepted to UGA

I am a current junior at Duke studying biology, marine science, and markets and management studies
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Stanford ‘19


Accepted to Stanford, Cambridge, Princeton, Yale, Brown, UPenn, Columbia, UC Berkeley, UCLA, Swarthmore, Barnard, Wellesley, Duke, NYU, BU

overly ambitious, passionately curious, helplessly perfectionistic
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Columbia ‘20


Accepted to Columbia, Dartmouth, Cornell, UC Berkeley, JHU, Vanderbilt, Rice, UMich, UCLA, UNC, UT Austin, Washington, Ohio State, UCSD

Midwestern kid who loves molecular biology and electronic dance music. Let me help you edit your essays!

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