Graduate School Admissions Process
Prepare a comprehensive list of the graduate schools in your area(s) of interest. Once you have compiled a comprehensive list of schools, begin trimming the list. Your faculty advisor can be especially helpful in identifying programs that will be good matches for your interests and abilities. Also talk with a career counselor, consult ratings; and use your criteria. Cut the list to five or ten schools and send a request to each school requesting application material, and financial aid forms.

You are now ready to begin submitting applications to the schools of your choice. The applications consist of six parts: the application form; transcripts of all past academic work; letters of reference; national examination scores; financial aid forms; and application fees. 

Essays and Personal Statements
Graduate school applications often times require a personal statement that introduces you to the graduate admissions committee. This statement should tell the committee who you are and why you are interested in the field. This is your opportunity to sell yourself and to expand on information in your application. The key is not to bore the reader.

For extra tips on how to write a graduate essay visit the Pathway’s Center for Richard Stelzer’s book, How to Write a Winning Personal Statement for Graduate and Professional School. For other tips and example essays visit:


Transcripts can be requested through the Registrar’s Office, many times with a small fee. It is your responsibility to forward an official copy of your transcript to each graduate school’s admissions office which requests one. It is your responsibility to make sure they have been sent.

Letters of Recommendation
A letter of recommendation is written by a professional to the admissions committee to inform them of your capability to perform well and benefit to their graduate program. Most graduate schools will want two to five letters. Some schools may ask that you simply supply names and addresses. Most, however, will provide you with forms that you must give to the persons you wish to have write recommendations. 

The selection of references should always be in accord with the graduate school’s direction. To facilitate the reference person’s letter you should provide them with three things:

1. Information about you and why you want to attend graduate school.
2. Information about the graduate school.
3. A pre-addressed, stamped envelope. 

When requesting recommendation letters, you should try to be sure that the professionals know you and your academic work, often times this may be a professor. 

Application Fees
Many schools will not act on your application until they have received your fee. If you cannot afford the fees find out if the school(s) have a “Fee Waiver” policy. Some schools with waive the fee if you can establish that you (and/or your family) do not have sufficient economic resources to pay the fee. Do this as early in the process as possible. Each school will have a different policy, so, check with all of them.