Most programs in graduate school require you to complete some type of standardized test for admission to their programs. Make sure that your review all of the requirements and costs, and also make sure to give yourself plenty of time for studying.
Common Graduate Admissions Tests
- GRE: This test is usually required for admission into most master’s and Ph.D. programs, as well as some business programs.
*Note: If you need assistance with GRE fees, please visit the GRE Information Bulletin and Forms page for the GRE Bulletin and Fee Reduction Request form.
- GMAT: This test is mostly used for business and management programs.
- LSAT: This is a law school entrance exam that is offered four times a year for admission into law programs in the U.S. and abroad.
- MCAT: Almost all medical schools in the United States, Canada, and beyond require students to take the MCAT.
Essays and Personal Statements
Essays and personal statements allow admissions reps to see your ability to express your opinions and ideas in a clear and concise manner. Think of things that make you unique and set you apart from other applicants. You want to convince the committee that you would be a valuable asset to bring to the campus.
Brainstorming. Ask yourself these questions to start thinking about what to write:
- How has IU Southeast prepared you for graduate school?
- How has your work experience prepared you?
- What are your influences to keep moving forward with your education?
- Where do you see yourself headed in the future?
- Why this specific graduate school or program?
Create an outline. Using your responses to the questions above, create an outline of what you want to say.
- Focus. Choose three or four points that you would like to discuss in your essay.
- Showcase qualifications. Show how your personal background and goals match the mission of the program you are applying to.
- Be memorable. Show that you are a unique candidate with relevant skills, abilities, and accomplishments.
Follow directions. Pay attention to the specific requirements for essays or personal statements. Check each program’s requirements. You want to make sure that you answer all of the questions and address all of the topics they present while keeping your essay to the correct length.
Be concise, specific, and complete. You may need to cover quite a few topics in a limited amount of space. Focus on specific themes and topics. Make sure to include examples instead of general information. Instead of saying, “I like to help people,” consider talking about an experience you had where you helped others and how that experience influenced your decision to apply to your program.
Revise, and always get feedback. Make sure to go back and edit your document. Share it with others. Outside readers can help you make improvements. Show your essay to friends, family, faculty, and the Writing Center on campus.
Letters of Recommendation
Most graduate programs require two to four different letters of recommendation. Although your letters will not be made public, it is important that you follow a few guidelines to get exactly what your program is looking for.
- Understand the requirements. Make sure to follow all of the directions listed when seeking out letters, especially how the letters should be submitted and when.
- Choose writers wisely. Make sure you know who would be the best person to write a letter for you. Academic references like faculty are usually expected, but some schools accept work-related references as well. Make sure to choose someone who knows who are and your work ethic very well. You want to choose someone who can really make a case for your success in the program.
- Provide lead time. Usually when students need their letters is some of the busiest times of year for faculty on campus. Be sure to give your writer at least one month lead time so that you are not disappointed.
- Help your writers help you. For a courtesy you should provide your writers with an overview of your goals, a copy of your resume, and some information about the requirements of the letter so they can tell how to frame what they write.