Thinking about Graduate School?
There are many decisions to ponder when considering going to graduate school. First, you must think about the reason you want to pursue an advanced degree. Some questions you may ask yourself are:
- Do you have a strong interest in continuing the research that you began in your undergraduate program, or are you considering a different field of study?
- Are the professors in your undergraduate program continually suggesting that you pursue a Master’s degree in your program of study? Do they recognize that you excel in your studies, have completed some excellent research and seem to have a true passion for your undergraduate field of study?
- Are you choosing a Graduate program of study based solely on the hope of securing a high paying job, since people in that field make a lot of money?
- Do you want to go to graduate school in order to postpone having to deal with finding employment in our current job market?
- Are you considering graduate school as a way of deferring Federal student loan repayment (buying time)?
- Will you take a break between degrees or will you go right from completing your undergraduate degree to beginning a Master’s degree?
- Are there distance learning options for your degree of study?
- Will you go to school on campus or complete a distance learning degree?
- UAFS Career Services staff and your advisor are available to guide you in these important decisions.
Now that you have answered why you want to go to graduate school, it is time to do some proactive research.
Criteria to Consider
Preparing for Graduate School
Entrance Exams - GRE - GMAT - LSAT - MCAT
- What level of degree are you seeking? Master’s or doctoral?
- What programs are offered?
- What are the admission and degree requirements?
- Do they require a thesis or dissertation?
- How many students do they enroll? How many degrees were awarded?
- How long does it take to complete a degree?
- How competitive is the program?
- What is the student to faculty ratio?
- What funding is available? Internship, assistantships, fellowships, loans, etc.
- Is the program accredited or what is the quality of the program?
- Where is the school located?
- Is housing available?
- What work experience opportunities are available? Internship, assistantships, part time jobs, clinicals, etc.
- Does the school offer career services assistance? What is the placement rate of the program?
- Does the program contain transferrable skills if your career goal changes?
Once you have determined that graduate school is right for you, now you need to prepare and position yourself to be a competitive applicant. The admissions process for graduate schools will vary, but typical the decision to admit is based on the following factors:
- Statement of purpose
- Letters of recommendation
- Standardized Test Scores (link to entrance exam section)
- TOEFL or IELTS (international students)
- Grade Point Average (GPA)
- Resume/Curriculum Vitae
- Previous work experience
- Research experience
- Curricular activities
Graduate School Application Time Table - COMING SOON
Career Resource Center
The Career Resource Center contains books, periodicals, and other materials related job searching, general career descriptions, how-to-books on resumes and cover letters, interview preparations, graduate school information, and career choice. Stop by our office on the second floor of the Boreham Library (LI 212) to check out our available resources.
Most graduate programs require you to take a standardized graduate admissions test. The most common exams are the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT), the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) and the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). There are also other types of graduate school entrance exams. It takes about six months to study for these exams, so plan accordingly. You should be prepared to take your exam in the summer between your junior and senior year.
Career Services has study guide books and test information that are available for students to check out for FREE! Contact us at (479) 788-7017 to reserve materials for pick up.
What you need to know about the Graduate Record Exam (GRE):
The GRE offers a General Test and various Subject Tests. The purpose of taking the exam(s) is so that graduate school admissions committees can predict your potential success as a student in their program. Since it is a standardized test, applicants are judged on the same scale, using the same criteria.
The General Test
The General Test measures the knowledge and skills that you acquired in high school and during your undergraduate years. The test measures your verbal, quantitative and analytical writing skills. It is one of the most important tools used by admissions committees in determining program acceptance and awarding funding.
- Practice test booklet: Educational Testing Service (ETS) or additonal information about the more detailed GRE Test Guides
The Subject Tests
Certain graduate school programs require a GRE Subject Test. Check the admission requirements of the graduate program for which you will apply BEFORE selecting the subject test as many programs will not accept it.
- Register for the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and download free practice software.
- Call the National Sylvan line 1-800-GRE-CALL to find additional sites.
What you need to know about the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT):
The GMAT is a general aptitude test that measures verbal, mathematical, and analytical writing skills. It does not measure your knowledge or skills in specific content areas, such as business. According to the Graduate Management Admission Council, “more than 4,800 graduate management programs around the world use GMAT scores as a part of their admissions process.”
What you need to know about the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT):
Unlike the two previous tests discussed above, the LSAT measures:
- Reading and comprehension of complex texts with accuracy and insight
- Organization and management of information and the ability to draw reasonable inferences from it
- The ability to think critically
- The analysis and evaluation of the reasoning and arguments of others
The LSAT is only administered four times each year. The test should be taken between June and September (December at the absolute latest!) for admission into a law program the following fall. However, it would be best to take the exam during the summer between your junior and senior years.
What you need to know about the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT):
The MCAT assesses a student’s problem solving abilities, critical thinking abilities, writing skills, and knowledge of science concepts & principles prerequisite to the study of medicine. The areas of testing are: Physical Sciences, Verbal Reasoning, Writing Sample, and Biological Sciences.
Additional standardized test information can be found at:
- Miller Analogies Test (MAT)
- Educational Testing Services (ETS)
- Kaplan Test Prep Free Practice Tests
- PCAT - Website information for the Pharmacy College Admission Test.
- Guide to Affordable Online Master's Programs - In-depth guidebook for students looking to continue their higher education in an affordable and flexible online master's program.
- GoGrad.org - Comprehensive guide to Non-For-Profit Online Graduate Schools.
- Gradschools.com - Find details about graduate departments and programs that you may be considering.
- Info.Gradschools.com - Use the Application Essay Course to learn great information about personal statements.
- GraduateGuide.com - Learn detailed information about grad schools, financial aid, and loans.
- Kaplan Test Prep - Provides test preparation information, classes and free practice tests.
- Peterson's Online - Helps students find the right graduate school, details test preparation, and how to pay for graduate school.
- Princeton Review - Information about different graduate programs and careers, entrance exams, scholarships, and financial aid.
- MBA.com - Provides in-depth information about MBA programs.
- Association of American Medical Colleges - Gives a wide variety of information about the medical field such as professional development groups, MCAT, medical schools, jobs, surveys, and data.
- Master's in Education - Provides a comprehensive overview of any information need to pursue a Master's degree in Education.