Graduate School Exams and Application Process
Graduate School Entrance Exams
You will need to research the required test for the program and institution in which you are applying for admission. Some examples of standardized tests that may be required are:
Graduate Program: GRE- Graduate Record Exam (www.gre.org)
MBA: GMAT- Graduate Management Admissions Test (www.gmat.org)
Law School: LSAT- Law School Admission Test (www.lsat.com)
Medical School: MCAT- Medical College Admission Test (www.mcat.com)
Vet School: VCAT- Veterinary Medicine College Admission Test
Test information booklets and practice tests are available in the Center for Career Development.
Call, email or write directly to the graduate admissions office for an application. Request an application, catalog, and any specific information they may have on the particular program in which you are interested. It is suggested that you type all paper applications. You may also submit your application online. It might be helpful to prepare copies for practice versions prior to completing the original. Answer all questions.
Request your official transcript from the Registrar's Office. It can take up to a week to process this request. Grade point averages are important, but are not examined in isolation. In addition, the rigor of the courses you have taken, your course load, and the reputation of the college you have attended are also considered. You will need official transcripts from all colleges attended and study abroad programs. Contact each school individually for these requests. Submit these requests well in advance of the application deadline.
Standardized tests are offered throughout the year, either by computer or paper and pencil. Most common tests taken are the GRE, GMAT, LSAT, and MCAT. Tests scores for the paper/pencil version take 4-6 weeks to process. Computerized versions are available immediately. Check the Center for Career Development for test application and study materials.
Letters of Recommendation
Obtaining letters of recommendation is an often mandatory step in completing your application. Start this process early; you don't want to have to wait for letters and miss a deadline. You should choose faculty and professionals who know you well. Give them 4 weeks or more to prepare a recommendation letter.
Coach and prepare your references. Provide them with a resume, personal statement, and copies of work that you have completed for them. Make sure they know your deadlines. Pick one extra person in case you fall short.
If planning on taking a year or two off prior to grad school, it is important to ask your faculty members while you are still in school if they will be a reference for you when you apply at a later date. Provide them with the same information now as you would if you were applying at this time and find out how you can contact them when you need the reference. Stay in touch with them!
Most graduate schools require an application fee. Some fees may be waived if you meet certain financial criteria, but you will need to complete paperwork to receive this waiver.
Refer to the page on personal statements and essays for more information.
Some graduate schools require you to appear for an interview. It can be a very important opportunity for you to persuade a department that you are an excellent candidate for their program. Keep in mind, as the interviewer is asking you questions, they are more interested in how you think than what you think.
You should prepare for the graduate school interview, just as you would a job interview. You can schedule a mock interview with the Center for Career Development by calling 717-337-6616.
Fields that involve creativity usually require you to submit a portfolio as part of the application process. It should show your skills and ability to do further work in a particular field, and it should reflect the scope of your cumulative training and experience. You may want to prepare an electronic portfolio as well. A website or CD are examples.