by Sarah Wilkinson, Class of ’17
Before you apply to a graduate school, ask yourself any last minute questions that might affect your decision.
- Does the program your’re interested in allow for part-time study?
- Is work experience required to get into the program?
- Does the program allow flexibility such as dual majors, interdepartmental or interdisciplinary study, individualized majors, and combined degree programs? These often lead to the most interesting jobs.
Procedures for Applying to Graduate School
- Check graduate catalogs for admissions requirements and deadlines.
- Identify what type of entrance exam is required and when it is offered (i.e., GRE, GMAT, LSAT, and MCAT).
- Graduate schools will also require official transcripts from each college attended, which must be obtained from the Registrar’s Office of the colleges you attended.
- Obtain letters of reference from faculty and others who know about the quality of your academic and professionally related work will be requested.
- You may expect other requirements such as essays, general interviews or situational interviewing.
Graduate School Application Timeline
Fall – Junior Year:
- Attend a graduate or law school workshop (see Champlain College web calendar for dates/times/locations) and schedule a preliminary meeting with an career coach in Career Collaborative by calling (802) 860-2720.
- Identify which standardized tests are required for admission and sign up for a free testing event with Kaplan in the fall to evaluate how close you are to score requirements.
Spring – Junior Year:
- Figure out what you want to do and begin researching programs in your field.
- Investigate preparation needed for the exam or subject test and prepare.
- Schedule a test date to take the exam or any required subject test.
Summer before Senior Year:
- Continue researching programs and preparing for admissions exams.
- If you have not done a practice test, contact Kaplan.com to take GRE, GMAT, or MCAT practice test. It’ll help you focus your studying.
- Think about whom you will ask to write letters of recommendation for you. Choose at least three people (professors, past supervisors, etc.) who can speak to your academic abilities.
- Research financial aid, fellowships, and assistantships as those deadlines are early. Begin filling out financial aid forms.
- If you haven’t started working on your resume, start working on it now. Contact Career Collaborative at 802.860.2720 to have a career coach critique your resume.
- Confirm where you want to go and contact those schools for application materials.
Fall – Senior Year:
- Start writing your personal statement: Your internship or research project could be an inspiration. Start with a story and develop your essay from there. Depth is better than breadth so focus on one event/person and expand on it. Essay Edge (http://www.essayedge.com/) is a great resource for samples.
- Formally request letters of recommendation. Provide your recommenders with your resume and ask early. Send thank you letters to your recommendation writers.
- Hopefully you’ve already taken the GRE/GMAT/MCAT. You may be able to take them again in the fall if you aren’t happy with your scores.
Winter – Senior Year:
- Write away: Your transcripts provide a quantitative evaluation of your strengths. Your personal statement fills in the blanks. Start writing early and edit as much as possible.
- Get to work: Most graduate applications are due between November and March. From transcripts and essays to test scores, you’ll need to have everything together by then. Get your applications early because most graduate schools admit students as they apply.
- Fill out the FAFSA (fafsa.ed.gov): To qualify for federal aid you fill out the same form for graduate school as you did for college. Get the FAFSA in ASAP after January 1. Grad students are considered independent for federal aid calculations.
- Send your scores: Ensure your prospective schools receive your transcripts, test scores, and recommendation letters.
Spring – Senior Year:
- Compare offers: Keep your eye on your mailbox. Around May, you should start to receive admission offers.
- Look into alternatives: If your financial aid doesn’t quite cut it, look into alternative loan programs. Remember that each sets its own terms, so compare borrower terms carefully.
- Get ready to go: You’re about to start an exciting new part of your educational career. Enjoy it!
Resource: Career Collaborative