The Application Process
When applying to graduate school, your goal is to demonstrate what you will contribute to the program and what you hope to gain. Here are two basic guidelines to help your effort go smoothly:
- Start early. Early applications have a better chance of being accepted. Although application deadlines vary, most are near the beginning of the spring semester. Many schools with rolling admissions encourage early applications. Begin the process a full year and a half before the date you plan to begin graduate study. This is necessary to allow time to gather information, take admissions examinations, and complete the necessary application materials.
- To obtain the application materials you need, visit the web site of the desired graduate program or send an email requesting an application and information about the department or program. Most schools have this information online and allow you to download applications. You might also ask for the range of grade point averages and test scores for students accepted the previous year, as well as the number of applications received and accepted. This request should be sent to the admissions office of the program in which you are interested. Be sure to keep a file noting admissions requirements and deadlines for each school.
Graduate schools generally require a non-refundable application fee, typically between $35-$75. The fee may be waived if you meet certain financial criteria. Contact the schools to which you are applying to determine whether or not you qualify for the waiver.