Consider all of the following:
Think about how all of these factors might come together. Where are you willing to compromise? Where are you not able to compromise? Above all, be sure that there is a solid connection between this program and your intended career path.
Now that you know what you're looking for, it's time to find out what's possible. Research programs in your field online and in the library. Speak with faculty and professionals in the field. Call graduate programs you are interested in and speak with the department coordinator or chair to ask if job placement information from past graduates is available.
When you know your top choices of programs, don't sit back and wait for them to come to you. Be proactive and put yourself out there. Call the graduate program office at each school and ask to set up an appointment to speak with the chair of the department, or an assistant, to discuss the program in greater detail.
Organization is essential when applying to graduate schools. Deadlines, requirements and testing will vary. An orderly file system and check lists with space to indicate completion date will help to keep track of application requirements, (i.e. application forms, transcripts, letters of recommendation, essays or personal statements, admissions tests, resumes, interviews, etc.). Make sure to stay organized and meet your deadlines: this will emphasize your maturity to your future program as well as prepare you for staying on top of things in your future career.
In an ideal world, the people you will ask to write letters on your behalf are those who know you well. Class participation is perhaps the best way to get to know a professor and alert them to your insights and abilities. Take advantage of open faculty hours in order to establish personal and academic connections with professors in your department. Establishing additional personal and academic connections with professors early in your studies will help when it comes time to procure an effective Letter of Reference. Remember to give a professor a minimum of one month to prepare a letter of reference and send a thank you note to each person who has written a letter on your behalf.
Check out our 10 tips for asking for professional references.
Your essays provide the application review committee the opportunity to understand how you came to the decision to attend graduate school and how you selected their program, as well as your expectations after you attain your graduate degree.
Your essay must be error-free. A few readers are recommended to proofread and review your content. Please stop by the Studio during our drop-in hours if you want feedback on your essay. The University Writing Center is a wonderful resource for in-depth assistance with essays and personal statements.
If testing is required, such as GRE, GMAT or subject-specific exams, be sure to leave plenty of time to have scores sent to schools to meet deadlines.
Keep this general timeline in mind as you prepare for and manage the application process.