I have recently applied to and been accepted into multiple graduate (business) schools! Now, it may seem like a simple process, but it’s not as simple as it seems. I was very strategic with my planning and applying. It’s a stressful and nerve wrecking process, but trust me, it will be worth it! Here are my tips on how to get into graduate school!
Connect with your professors
I’ve always known I wanted to go to graduate school and I’ve always known that I would need help and letters of recommendation, so I’ve always made it a point to connect with almost all of my professors. I AM A TEACHER’S PET. Yes, I am here to tell you that it’s important to be the student that every other student hates, but you know what? I didn’t show up to my classes to make friends, I showed up to learn and succeed. I will always participate in class, I will always ask questions in and out of class, and I will always chit chat with professors in the hall way. Basically I will be the annoying student that professors love and other students hate. When it came time to ask for letters of recommendation I didn’t struggle to find anyone because I had so many options to choose from. If your professors are anything like mine, they’re more than willing to help with not only writing a recommendation but with any other questions you have about graduate school and specific programs. I cannot stress enough how important this point is. Professors can also help with finding internships, more connections, and even jobs. They’re basically your wingmen into the real world.
Jobs may not care much about your GPA (I think they do, but others will disagree), but graduate schools WILL care. Most of the schools I was applying to had a minimum GPA requirement of a 3.0. The average GPAs for the programs I applied for ranged anywhere from 3.3 to 3.7. So yes a GPA DOES MATTER! Your GPA will show that you not only comprehend the material, but that you’re a hard worker. You can’t bull crap your way to a 3.5, you had to work hard for that. Graduate programs want the hard workers. So get your GPA up because if you want to go to graduate school, C’s will get you your degree, but they can keep from getting into graduate school. Check out this blog post to see how to attain your GPA goal.
Letter of Intent
Write a simple letter of intent, purpose, statement or whatever the graduate school is requesting. All of my programs required this essay and it’s a very simple 500 word or 1 page essay. I will put up another post within the next few days on how I set mine up. Research simple letters of intents to get ideas and help you out. Don’t try to be over the top or fancy because honestly, they just want to see that this is something you really want and that the program is the right program for you. I wrote one letter and just changed out the school name and program name for every other school. I sent in the same letter to every school I applied to and it saved me so much time and effort! Also, RUN IT THROUGH GRAMMARLY! I use this site for everything. I did a review of it here that you can check out. Trust me you don’t want any grammatical errors in a letter of intent!
Check out Grammarly here
GMAT or GRE
A lot of schools will require one of these exams. It’s best to look into which one your program requires. Do not stress if you need to take it more than once! Almost everyone I know took it at least once, including me! These are not exams that you can study for only a month in advance. I recommend picking up a book as soon as possible and studying for at least 3 months. Any free time you get, read a few pages and do a few practice problems, but make sure to set aside a few hours each week to study. I recommend buying the books new as the exams are altered and changed frequently. They can be somewhat pricey, but it’s better to have the most updated version than to buy a cheaper book. I’ll link the GMAT and GRE books that I have found to be the best. (I’ve studied for both). Lastly, check if the schools have minimum score requirements and what their average scores are so you know what you need to get.
GMAT Review by GMAC — THIS ONE IS BY THE CREATORS OF THE GMAT! This one is my favorite one by far.
Kaplan GRE Vocab Flashcards — Very helpful!!
Download some apps too! I recommend Prep4GMAT!
Don’t waste your time applying for programs you don’t want to attend. Yes, a backup school or two is helpful, but make sure it’s still a program you like and will help you get the job you want. Researching schools also helps you to see what you need to do to apply and have the best chance at getting in. This can range from certain classes you need to take to application requirements such as things I’ve listed above. It’s also best to research where their graduates are going. If you’re applying to a school in Chicago and most of their students are staying in Chicago to work, then you have to consider if it’s a good program for you if you’re wanting to move to Seattle. I will be posting a blog post within the next few days about how to find a school and program that suits you.
Prepare with your course work
I knew I wanted to go into Marketing Research so I took every class I could to set me up for the programs I would be applying for. It’s a very analytical field so I took every statistics and math course I could for my degree electives. Having classes that will prepare me for the classes I will be taking in graduate school shows that this is a program I can do well in as well as show that this program is the program for me. There’s no sense in me taking environmental economics over advanced statistics if I’m applying to a program that has a heavy statistics and analytical concentration. So when you’re signing up for classes, be mindful of courses that can set you up well for the programs you’ll be applying for.
Find a job or internship related to the field of the program you are applying for
It seems self-explanatory. The experience you get and being able to show that you are prepared not only academically, but also in the real world, is so helpful. It shows that this is something you really want and something you are really interested in. It’s also helping you take what you’ve learned in the classroom and apply it in real life.
What are your tips or questions for applying and getting into graduate school?
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