Getting Into Graduate School

graduate school admittance

Getting into graduate school is no secret. But remember, there are only a few admissions slots compared to the total number applications received. So prepare your application submission carefully.

A good site to review is It provides the inside intelligence on how each college's admission system works:

There are only a few admissions slots compared to the number of application received. So prepare your application submission carefully.

A General Guide to Follow

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Hedge Your Bets

Submit your application to an assembled list of graduate programs that you'd like to attend.

There are three categories of schools you should submit your application to:

  1. 2-3 schools that you could definitely get in
  2. 4-5 schools that you could probably get in
  3. 7-8 schools that you would like to get in

    You should budget on how much you can afford for application submission. You may need to narrow your search to 3-3-3.


Submit Your Application On-Time

Note the application deadlines for all of your schools. Application submission is generally 6-9 months prior to the start date of the program. Get your completed application in early.


Show Strong Academic Achievements

The stronger your academics, the better your chances for admission.

If this area is weak, try to make it up by college admittance test scores, strong essays, and a demonstration of outside leadership.


Show Strong Work Experience

Many graduate programs require professional experience in your undergraduate field. It is not the number of years experience, but rather the depth and growth in your career that gets high marks for admissions.

Note that competition for admission in noted programs can be fierce. It helps to have good experience, academics, high test scores, strong essays, and good recommendations.


Study for the Standardized Tests

Study hard to achieve high graduate admittance test scores. An above-average test score is NOT an automated ticket to admission. But it does add points in your favor with many programs.

grad admittance exam prep


Submit Good Essays and Recommendations

Here is an opportunity to show your creativeness and leadership skills by writing strong essays and having good recommendations from leaders in your profession and community.

We recommend that your essays get reviewed by a professional writer prior to submission. Submitting an essay that is structurally weak and grammatically incorrect can destroy your chances of being admitted.

Use this resource to edit your essay — you will expert advice from professionals who are experts in college essay review


Display Leadership - Commmunity Leadership

Finally, colleges admit applicants who display leadership skills in their professions and from participation in clubs, communities, church groups, and other extracurricular activities.


Final Work

Your application is one of thousands that must be reviewed by the college's admissions staff. Submit the best application that you can.

Graduate Admission Exams

graduate school admittance

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Register to take your graduate entrance exam prior to submitting your graduate school application.

It is best to take the exam within a 6-12 month window of your application submission.

Some programs may request you re-take the exam if your exam scores are several years old. It is also recommended that you take the exam only once. Some programs may average your exam scores if you have multiple test scores.

In other words,

  • study hard for the exam,
  • do it right the first time,
  • and don't miss your deadlines.

Graduate Exam Information

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Graduate MS Programs:


MBA Programs


LSAT (Law School Admission)


MCAT Programs (Medical School Admission)


DAT Programs (Dental School Admission)


Test Preparation Guides:

  • Kaplan Testing Services:
    Kaplan offers online and in-room simulation tests with guidance on weak points that need to be improved.

Note Submission Deadlines

graduate school admittance

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Early Admission: deadlines are in October - November
Regular Admissions: deadlines are in early January - February

Submit all required documents at least two weeks before the deadline. The earlier the better.

Calendar Dates

9-12 Months Before Starting School

  • Select the graduate programs that you desire to attend.
  • Find, prepare and take the graduate admission exams.
  • Obtain the applications from the school. You can easily get the application online: view graduate programs
  • Decide who you will ask to write your recommendations. Give this person plenty of time (at least 4-6 weeks prior to your request date).
  • Keep a track of important dates. You don't want to miss a deadline.


7-9 Months Before Starting School

  • Begin working on your essays.
  • Collect your letters of recommendations.
  • Complete the application in preparation for submission
  • Make plenty of copies of your essays, letters of recommendations and application.


6-8 Months Before Starting School

  • Complete applications for normal admissions. Many of these submissions can be made online.
  • Start looking for housing, if required.


5-7 Months Before Starting School

  • Get your undergraduate transcripts sent to your intended schools. Reference the school's application.
  • Your school should be sending out acceptance letters. If you haven't heard from your school, contact them to make sure your application is complete (they may be waiting for a transcript or other item).


3-6 Months Before Starting School

  • Finalize your admissions requirements:

    — housing
    — final transcript
    — registrations
    — medical checks
    — other

Submit Application Forms

graduate school admittance

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Many schools now allow for e-applications where you can submit one form to multiple schools. This will save you time from having to complete multiple application that ask for the same information.

Again, watch your deadlines.

Key Elements of the Application

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Grad School Application:

Request an application form from each of your colleges. You can find it online or request it from the school.

The package will include the application form, submission requirements (essays, transcripts and other) and self-addressed envelopes for the letters of recommendations.

Many schools use the COMMON application form for application submission. Using the COMMON application form saves you time from completing multiple application forms:
see form at

You can save the COMMON application form online until you are ready to submit it electronically to participating schools

Or get the application from your school — link to your college to submit your application form online or to request a application packet:
use our college search directory for your school's web site


Grad Admission Essays:

Your graduate admissions will likely require 3 or more essays. Don't wait until the last minute to write and edit your essays. The essay is an important decisional component for many graduate admissions.

Essay resource and editing services:
use this resource to edit your essay — you will expert advice from professionals who are experts in college essay review

Quick view: essay writing tips and samples



Most graduate admissions require 2 or more recommendations from managers and leaders in your profession, undergraduate teachers, and/or community leaders.

You need to find someone who has had some association with you in your profession and outside activities. Give the person plenty of time to write the recommendation (about 4-6 weeks prior to your deadline).

Provide the following:

  • short autobiography and experience
  • list of your professional and community activities
  • deadline when the recommendation is due (allow 4-6 weeks prior to the deadline)
  • stamped self-addressed envelope to the college admission office


School Transcripts:

Arrange with your undergraduate college (and any other degree awarded colleges and programs) to forward required transcripts to select graduate programs.

Some graduate programs may request your High School transcripts, especially if you you lack post-graduate experience. Be prepared to request your high school to forward transcripts if required.


Outside Interests:

You want to show well-roundness in your application. Just the right amount of work experience and outside activities. Graduate admission offices like to review candidates with community service on their application.

How to build a well-rounded character?
Complete guide on discipline and character building. Has illustrations on the building blocks of success.

view our "building success" module

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By building the discipline in four distinct character traits.

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2) educational
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Making the Move!

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What do you need when you move to college?

1) bed sheets
2) toothbrush
3) cooling fan
4) medicine box
5) hand vac
6) plus so much more

Grab our college moving checklist to help you pack for the big move

FREE: Moving Checklist

Save on Textbooks

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The cost of college textbooks can run as high as $800-$1,000 or more per semester. So shop around for:

1) new textbooks
2) used textbooks
3) rental textbooks

Shop and compare best deals from multiple online merchants.

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Job Center

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So what kind of jobs are availabe in your study at college?

Let's take a look to see if opportunities in your field are available and what skills sets you need:

Link to Job Center

Achieving Success

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Achieving success in life requires 3 key ingredients:

1) planning
2) discipline
3) execution

Open our success module for FREE guides on these key success points.

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