Graduate school is becoming an increasingly popular path for students finishing their undergrad. More than ever, higher-level jobs require a minimum of a Masters degree in order to be considered for the position. Getting into grad school can be daunting, but don't worry- below is a list of suggestions to consider if you are planning on applying to grad school.
Marks are important
|Getting good grades are important if you plan on getting into grad school- be prepared to hit those textbooks!|
Marks are the first indication of whether or not you can handle graduate level courses, and often the most basic requirement for the majority of graduate degrees. A 3.0 GPA in your final 20 courses of your undergrad is the standard level for admission, but it varies depending on the exact program. However, it is important to note that having the minimum grade requirement often isn’t enough to get accepted, so you need to go the extra mile if you want to further your education.
One example of how you can do this is taking part in a studying and/or interning abroad program, which is a great way to diversify your skills outside of the regular academic world!
Don’t be scared of your professors
|More than getting good grades and paying attention in lectures, you need to establish relationships with your professors- they are key for recommendations and can be a great source for advice!|
Yes, professors can seem intimidating or challenging to approach. But take any opportunity you can to get to know them. Visit them during office hours. Seek them out during faculty events. Even if you are a straight-A student, professors often won’t take notice of you unless you actively build those relationships. Good relationships with professors often means not only having a great mentor to guide you throughout your undergrad, but will also often lead to a glowing recommendation on your grad school application.
Most graduate programs ask for 2-3 academic references when you apply, so make sure you are establishing relationships with several professors from different faculties!
Find a graduate advisor before you officially apply
|Taking the initiative to find graduate advisors before you apply will greatly help you once you start your application!|
Not only can good relationships with professors lead to positive recommendations, but it means they might also be willing to be your graduate advisor if you remain at the same institution. Having your advisor locked down before you apply bolsters your application that much more – and increases the likelihood of getting accepted.
If you plan on going to a new institution, it’s possible to contact professors beforehand to start building that relationship before you apply or get accepted. It is also important to be specific when communicating your intentions for your graduate research – just having a general interest in international development, for example, generally isn’t enough for an advisor to take you on.
Put some time into volunteering/research experience
|Volunteering in your field of interest and having relevant work experience looks great when applying to grad school!|
Finding relevant experience outside of your undergraduate degree really shows that you’re interested and willing to put in the extra work to your interests. Research experience looks especially good on a graduate application because it shows them you already have an understanding of how it works and what will be expected of you.
International work experience is also becoming increasingly valuable both in applying to grad school and future jobs! Relevant experience is key – general volunteering that doesn’t pertain to your field of study may not necessarily help you get accepted.