from Franklin Pierce University
Greater earning power, career advancement, and enhanced education are just a few strong reasons for pursuing graduate study. An advanced degree can provide you with a competitive edge, potential for promotion, and opportunities to change your career path. Graduate school is also a significant investment of time and resources, and therefore, it is important to determine one’s financial, mental, and emotional readiness before pursuit. Use the information to guide you graduate study exploration, and connect with a career counselor to discuss your unique goals.
Self-reflect on financial, mental, and emotional readiness.
Identify programs that align with your career ambitions.
Graduate school is much more competitive than that of undergraduate study. It is important that candidates develop a strong timeline to stay organized during this lengthy process. Candidates that engage in a year or more of planning may find the process to be less overwhelming and their application to be much stronger. Review the following application overview, and connect with a career counselor to develop an individualized course of action.
The following is adapted from an article written by Tamara Powell, a lecturer in Communication Studies at California State University, and featured on The Muse (https://www.themuse.com/advice/applying-to-grad-school-your-monthbymonth-guide)
To help you get organized, stay on track, and have the best chances for getting into your dream school, below is a month-by-month guide to the grad school application process. Develop a chart with deadlines and requirements for each school to help you stay on track.
FALL– work on pulling up your grades if your GPA is an issue
SPRING– Review the considerations for going to graduate school above.
Schedule your entrance exams. You may want to take these exams in the spring of your junior year so you get them out of the way (and have time to retake them if necessary) and can spend the fall filling out your applications and working on your writing samples.
Most graduate schools look for well-rounded individuals with good grades and some relevant work experience on their resumes. An internship can be an excellent way to gain some professional experience in your chosen field. In some fields, volunteer experiences are also helpful—provided they give you relevant experience and are not simply “envelope stuffing” exercises.
Study for and take Standardized Tests
* For information about taking the GRE or LSAT, please contact Suzanne Sudarth, Director of Certification Development, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Scroll to the bottom of this page for information on the GRE and other certification programs available at Greensboro College.
Research Financial Aid. Moneygeek.com offers a Grad School Financial Aid Timeline..
Begin researching financial aid. Start by creating a budget, outlining how much money you’ll need for tuition, housing, books, fees, and living expenses. Then, make a list of possible funding sources. Most degrees will cost you out of pocket, but some programs offer fellowships and scholarships or work-study opportunities. Learn what federal student aid is available to you, and also research field-specific grants or alumni scholarship opportunities you can apply for.
Select Schools to Apply To
Narrow down the programs you’d like to apply to. You don’t have to visit each school at this point, but you should do extensive online research about prospective programs—scoping out things like curriculum, reputation, cost, faculty expertise, support services, and alumni networks. Also comb through their applications and necessary requirements.
Art Therapy graduate programs
www.jamesmadison.com – The James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation offers one graduate-level fellowship worth up to $24,000 per state. Current and prospective secondary school teachers of American government are eligible to apply.
Each school you apply to will likely require one or more essays. Prepare an overarching personal statement, which can be modified for each school. Then, make a list of the other essay questions you’ll need to answer for each program, and get started writing. Writer’s block is pretty common when you’re writing about yourself, so leave plenty of time for this process and for revisions (definitely have another pair of eyes, or more, read over your work).
Request Letters of Recommendation
Decide which faculty members, employers, or other people you will ask for letters of recommendation. Narrow down your list and send emails to request meetings with each person—whether it’s in person or over the phone, you’ll want to discuss your grad school plans and goals before they start writing.
Be prepared to provide each recommender with a copy of your transcript, your statement of purpose, your resume or CV, and each program’s recommendation form.
Order official transcripts from the Registrar’s Office and request them to be sent to each program you are applying to. If you’re still in college, you can request that your transcripts be held until fall semester grades are posted, particularly if you think they’ll give your application a boost.
Begin Application Documents
Make a timeline of due dates and make sure that your earliest applications are ready. Create a folder (electronic or paper) for each school and make sure that you keep necessary materials for each program separate.
Send in Applications
Proofread all of your admissions materials and make sure that you’ve filled out every last field on your application form. Send them off.
Make sure that you receive a confirmation statement from each school within two weeks. Contact the admissions office if you do not receive an email, postcard, or letter assuring you they have your application.
Prepare for Admissions Interviews
Schools typically begin contacting students for interviews (if this is a part of their admissions process) about 2-4 weeks after application deadlines. At this point, rank the schools that have invited you and accept invitations in order of priority.
For each program you’ll be interviewing with, set up a new folder with everything you’ll need for your visit. Make a list of questions you have for faculty and staff, and prepare answers to questions you think they may ask. Make any necessary travel arrangements.
Secure Financial Aid or Develop a Funding Plan
Determine if you will receive any fellowship or scholarship money and from which departments. If you aren’t offered funding through the school, start on your Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application by assembling required documents, such as bank statements, W-2s, investment records, and federal income tax returns. If you are married, in a domestic partnership, or a dependent you will also need your spouse’s, partner’s, or parents’ tax return.
For each campus you visit, create an itinerary with the program coordinator. Meet with faculty, especially potential advisors or mentors, and ask thoughtful questions. Try to sit in on a few classes and meet with current students, too—anything that might help you picture yourself as a student there. Also plan to spend time checking out the surrounding city—your grad school experience goes far beyond the classroom, so make time to think about if you could live in this location.
Make a Decision
Everyone has a different approach for making important decisions, so stick to your method! Make pro/con lists or spreadsheets to calculate the weight of different factors. Go through your process, rank your schools, and make your decision!
Greensboro College offers a number of non-academic-credit certification programs. Greensboro College alumni and students receive 20% off any non-credit class that they attend. Financial aid cannot be used to pay for non-credit programs.
For more information, contact:
Director of Certification and Innovative Programs
336-272-7102, ext. 5760
You may be eligible for our new Stay Local Scholarship, which supports bright minds right in our home state of North Carolina. LEARN MORE