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Applying to Graduate or Professional Schools
Applying The application may include some or all of the following:
- Official transcripts of all college level academic work
- Personal statement or statement of purpose
- Supplemental application questions
- Standardized test scores
- Letters of recommendation
- Resume or curriculum vitae (CV)
- Samples of your work
- An interview
Different schools and programs may evaluate and place greater importance on different parts of the application. Apply to several programs to increase your options and chances of being accepted.
Many students begin researching graduate programs in their junior year in order to complete applications during the fall of their senior year. Most graduate school application deadlines are between December and April for fall admission but some may be as early as November. Be sure to check individual school deadlines!
Application deadlines for assistantships, scholarships and other financial aid may be earlier than deadlines for the program application materials.
Graduate school admission tests
The GRE General Test is the most often required entrance test for graduate school. GRE Subject Tests may also be required by some programs.
Applications to professional schools may be due as early as one to one and a half years before you want to attend. You will also need to give yourself time to do shadowing and/or acquire clinical experience to make yourself a strong candidate for some programs.
Many professional schools require the use of a centralized application service, often referred to as “CAS.” Check the CAS opening date and deadlines in your professional area of interest. CAS examples include:
- Dental school (ADEA AADSAS)
- Law school (LSDAS)
- Medical school (AMCAS)
- Optometry school (OptomCAS)
- Pharmacy school (PharmCAS)
- Physical Therapy school (PTCAS)
- Physicians Assistant school (CASPA)
Professional school admission tests
The LSAT for law school, MCAT for medical school, GMAT for business school and PCAT for pharmacy school are examples of standardized tests that are typically required for professional school. Check admission test requirements of each school to which you are applying and their deadlines so you can schedule your testing date accordingly.
When preparing for standardized tests:
- Begin early
- Set aside time each week to prepare
- Take advantage of free online practice tests (e.g., Khan Academy, GRE.org)
- Explore private test preparation companies if interested