The Decision: The decision whether or not and when to attend graduate or professional school is an important one. Talk with your faculty mentors. Think about your goals. What do you want to do? What do you need to do to make that happen?
Introduction: Just as deciding to go to graduate or professional school should not be taken lightly, the application process requires planning, hard work, and lots of time. Think of this as a process. You need to work to make yourself a strong applicant, but you must also work to make your application strong. You need to do research, prepare for entrance exams, take those exams, talk with faculty members about letters of recommendation, and write numerous drafts of your personal statement and (if applicable) your writing sample. You must also do all of this on schedule. Deadlines vary by field and school. Make sure that you know when your materials are due. It often helps to make a schedule working backwards from your due dates.
Finding the Right School: There are a number of organizations that rank programs, but you might find it more useful to talk with faculty members in your field. Chances are good that they will be able to point you in the direction of several schools that could be a match for you. Additionally, faculty members can point you in the direction of professional societies in your field. These organizations often have lots of resources for undergraduates interested in advanced studies. Look around on online. Try to find departments where several professors are doing work that interests you.
Elements of the Application: Applications vary by field and institution, but see our Resources page for tips on personal statements, resumes, and letters of recommendation.
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