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Graduate School Planning

Points to Consider

  • What is the reason(s) you are interested in pursuing a graduate or professional degree? Is it required and/or suggested for your field of study?
  • When do you plan to apply? What is your timeline? 
  • What is the program/institution looking for in a competitive applicant? (e.g., GPA, Entrance Exam, Experience)
  • What preparation do you need to do?

How to Apply to Graduate School

  1. Research your options
  2. Identify schools, request applications (if applicable), and attend information sessions
  3. Develop a checklist for applying
  4. Register and prepare for entrance exam (You may wish to allow extra time, should you want to take the exam again.)
  5. Request letters of recommendation
  6. Take exam 
  7. Request transcripts
  8. Prepare and submit application

Entrance Exams & Professional Association Information

Education: PRAXIS Series

Dental School: DAT Exam - American Dental Association

Medical School: MCAT (American Association of Medical Colleges and American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine)

Business: Register for the GMAT, research, MBA programs, etc.

Various Graduate & Professional Programs: GRE-general and subject tests

Law School: LSAT -  Law School Admission Council

Pharmacy: PCAT

Centralized Application Systems

Several graduate & professional school programs, particularly related to medicine and healthcare, utilize a centralized application system where an applicant may apply to several programs at once.  Please be aware that centralized application systems have an application cycle and you should plan ahead to make certain you are using the appropriate cycle for the year you would like to enter the program and that you are adhering to the deadlines for the individual program(s) you are applying to as well.  

  • Examples of information collected: personal statement, letters of recommendation, and transcripts.

Often the individual institutions will send you a secondary application to ask questions about your particular interest in their program.

Centralized Applications Cycle for Healthcare-Related Programs

The Personal Statement

The personal statement is a significant component of your application.  This is an opportunity for you to show who you are and discuss reasons why you would be a good candidate which may go beyond the information presented throughout your application.  The questions and/or focus may vary by school/program.  However, typically the questions/prompts given include the following points:

  • What sparked your interest in the field?
  • Why are you a good candidate for the program?  What experience would you bring?
  • What are your career goals?  What do you hope to gain by attending this program/institution?

In addition to answering the question(s), please remember that this is a writing sample.  Proofread!  Proofread!  Proofread!  It can also be highly beneficial to ask a few other people to read through your essay, preferably at least one person in your field of study.

Video Library

Click the playlist icon YouTube playlist icon in the top right corner of the video player below to explore all the videos in this library.

External Videos

Resources

Adapted from Donald Asher's Graduate Admissions Essays (Ten Speed Press), used with permission.

 

Each October, Pitt-Greensburg hosts the Graduate & Professional School Fair. Please see the webpage for the 2019 Directory.