Evaluating

Admission Requirements

Each field has different admission requirements that may also vary by institution. You will want to find out what criteria are used by the school to evaluate and select students. Most will require the following items:

  • Application form and fees (find out about application deadlines - some programs have rolling admissions)
  • Essay and goal statement
  • Transcripts (to assess overall GPA, major GPA, overall academic ability)
  • Graduate admission test scores (GRE, LSAT, MCAT, etc.)
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Admissions interview

Programs Offered

  • What specializations are available?
  • Does the program focus on theory and research, or stress the practical application of knowledge and skills?
  • Does the program provide real work experience such as practicum, graduate assistantships, or internships?
  • Is the curriculum structured or flexible?
  • Are there opportunities to work on research projects?

Faculty

  • Who are they and what are their credentials? What have they published?
  • Do they hold degrees in fields of expertise from leading universities?
  • What is the faculty/student ratio?

Reputation

  • Is the program nationally ranked in terms of excellence?
  • Is the program well established or relatively new?
  • Who has graduated from the program and what are they doing now?

Cost

  • What are the tuition and fees? Is there an additional surcharge for non-residents?
  • What financial aid is available in the form of loans, scholarships, internships, and work study funds?
  • Are teaching or research assistantships available?  How do you locate them?

Geographic Location/Size

  • Would you be happier in a small town or a large urban area?
  • Is the school in an area you might want to stay in after you graduate?
  • Consider the size of the department as well as the university.
  • A larger institution will have more extensive facilities and libraries, a smaller institution will offer more personal attention and a sense of community.

State Regulations & Residency Requirements

  • Many state universities are required by law to give admission preference to in-state residents. These regulations apply to your legal residence and may affect the cost of your tuition.

Career & Networking Assistance

  • What career planning and job search assistance is available through your academic department?
  • If you hope to develop relationships with industry leaders, select a school that prides itself on real-world orientation and opportunities to mingle with recognized leaders in your field.