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Graduate School Application Tips

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Tip: Take time to research the field you want to study and how each graduate school program you are applying to presents their academic philosophy. Make sure they have a well-respected program or specialty that meets your needs.

Tip: Strategize how your personal statement can highlight your strengths and show why you are a perfect fit for their program.

Tip: Your personal statement will be judged by your commitment to your chosen field, your history of consistent volunteer, internship and/or work experience and the logic as well as the logic and maturity demonstrated in your Personal Statement.

Tip: Graduate Schools want to know how your presence will be felt on their campus. Emphasize activities and leadership roles in which you will continue to participate.

Tip: Identify your long term goals and how a graduate degree from their school will help you to successfully pursue them.

Tip: List any learning differences or personal challenges that have impacted your academic performance or test scores. Include any doctor’s diagnosis and prescribed academic support or medication. Also describe how a personal hardship has made you a stronger, more resourceful and more determined individual.

Tip: Whenever possible, visit the schools, meet program directors and faculty, and sit in on as many classes related to your subject as possible. This shows your genuine interest and creates valuable relationships which will be noted by admissions officers. Always follow up with a written thank you note.

Tip: Personally enlist your references and give each one a short bio of your activities, accomplishments, and anything relevant they need to know. Include a reference form if the grad school supplies one, with a stamped, addressed envelope for each college or university to which your reference is writing to. Always follow up with a written thank you note.

Tip: If required, make sure your resume or CV is professional and proofread for any errors.

Ready, Aim, Fire!

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It's time to start your college search. But not so fast. Do a little research first. Check out informative college websites, take an online tour, read reliable college guide books and get feedback from friends who are already in college. Deciding where you will fit in and thrive for four years to come is a journey with many detours. So don't rush it. Give yourself plenty of time to get lost, change directions or stop and refuel.


Try It On First

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How do you know where you want to go to college? What do you do to find out? The answer is found through personal experience. Visit a variety of local colleges and universities. You need to hang out at a sprawling state university, sit in on a seminar at a small liberal arts college, check out an 8'x10' dorm room, and eavesdrop on students in the dining hall. After doing this personal research, you'll be surprised at what fits, and what doesn't.


Highlight Your Passion

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Colleges want a renaissance class made up of all types of students. What is your special talent? What sets you apart? Everyone has something they are passionate about, whether it’s quirky, off-the-beaten-path or more mainstream. Your individual passion is the thing that sets you apart from other college applicants and will ultimately round out a diverse class. Susan's specialty is to draw out your uniqueness and show you how to successfully communicate “who you are.”


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