Home > Resources > After College > Graduate and Professional School > Preparing for Graduate School

Preparing for Graduate School

If you are considering an advanced degree, keep in mind the application process and academic transition will require careful planning, time, and effort on your part. Hard work will pay off once you find the program you love - one that fulfill you professionally and personally. Conduct thorough research and know what’s expected of you so that you’re adequately prepared for graduate school.

ADVERTISEMENT

Do Your Research

If you already know you’d like to go to graduate school immediately after your undergraduate, start researching where you’d like to go and what you’d like to study well before you’re studying for final exams as a college senior. If you’re pursuing a graduate degree in a field of study you’ve already had exposure to as an undergraduate, talk to your professors and department chair personnel. They can direct you to the better programs, or even whether you should be considering a graduate degree right out of college. Considering more than one option for graduate school? Learn as much as possible before committing to the school. You may have been able to explore different major options as an undergraduate, but graduate school is meant to hone one particular field of study to essentially make you an expert in the field.

Once you’ve done that, put the same effort into choosing which graduate school is right for you, and determining what your priorities are when it comes to picking a program. Consider the decision as if you were job hunting. If you find yourself accepted to multiple graduate schools, weigh the pros and cons of each program. We explore this topic on our main page, but look at things like the financial aid offered, a school’s reputation and location, and the vibe felt on your campus visit. Doing your research is crucial to making sure you end up where you should!

Create a Timeline

Whether you’re still in the planning stages, or getting ready to start applying to your list of graduate schools, it’s important to be forward-thinking. Will you be going to graduate school the fall after you graduate from college? Do you want to work in your desired field for a few years first and wait to apply? How long will it take you to get your life and finances in order before you feel ready to go to graduate school? Create a timeline that is specific to where you are in the process and your intended start date.

If you are a college senior looking to go to graduate school immediately after graduation, you should have taken your requisite standardized tests at the beginning of the school year. Applications are typically due around nine prior to your expected start date, which would mean late fall/early winter due dates for you college seniors. You should be evaluating any admittance letters by the spring of your senior year. If you decide to expand your timeline and defer enrollment, be aware that you may lose the spot you were initially offered when expected. You may need to reapply all over again if you wait too long, as many programs that offer deferment will only postpone enrollment for a year.

ADVERTISEMENT

Latest College & Financial Aid News

Gun Violence in U.S. Schools: What You Can Do

May 27, 2022

by Liz Montenegro

In the United States, guns have become the leading cause of death in children and teens, according to the CDC (2020). Every year, roughly 18,000 people under the age of 19 years old are shot and killed or injured by a firearm, according to research conducted by Everytown For Gun Safety. School shootings are a uniquely American epidemic. In 2022 so far, there have been 27 shootings in American schools. Last year, there were 34 shootings. Over the past 20 years, mass shootings have become the norm in American society, yet little effort has been made to prevent this uptick in gun violence on K-12 and college campuses. [...]

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2022 Scholarships

May 25, 2022

by Liz Montenegro

As we celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, we reflect on the enormous contributions of Asian Americans and share their culturally rich history. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders make up the fastest-growing racial group in the United States, with more than 23 million it total. However, API individuals, communities, and businesses have been disproportionately impacted by discrimination and criminal acts that have only been exacerbated by the pandemic in recent years. Now more than ever, we need to stand united as Americans against anti-Asian racism. [...]

Travis Scott's Foundation Awards 100 HBCU Student Scholarships

May 20, 2022

by Liz Montenegro

Now in its second year, Travis Scott’s Cactus Jack Foundation awarded $1 million dollars to 100 high-achieving Black high school seniors with financial need. This scholarship, known as the Waymon Webster Scholarship Fund, was named after Scott’s grandfather who was a Dean of the Prairie View A&M, as well as an alumnus. Each recipient won $10,000 that will be applied to their college educational expenses. These students have maintained a 3.5 or higher GPA throughout their high school career and will attend a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) in the fall. This year, all 38 HBCUs across the nation were represented among the recipients. [...]

Last Reviewed: May 2022