Career Services for Students - Application Preparation Skip Navigation

Application Preparation

The strength of your application weighs heavily on an admissions committee’s decision whether to grant you one of the coveted spots in their incoming class. Now is the time to put your best foot forward.
If you are preparing to apply to graduate school prior to your senior year, consider Summer Internships and Fellowships, Undergraduate Research Opportunities, or National Fellowships and Scholarships to build a powerful resume and experience that will enhance your application.

Application Materials

Graduate and professional schools require you to submit a large amount of information during the admission process, often including standardized test scores, statement of purpose (or other supplemental essays or portfolios of work, depending on the program, official transcripts, a resume/CV, a personal statement, and letters of recommendation. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
Standardized Testing
Standardized testing requirements are typically noted on the program’s website. The best time to take a test is after you have adequately studied for it and scored well on practice tests. Many applicants choose to take standardized tests while in an “academic mode,” as test scores remain valid for an allotted time. Check the GRE, GRE Subject Tests, LSATMCAT, or GMAT sites to learn about the longevity of your scores, to schedule your testing date, or to learn about testing accommodation services.
Personal Statement/Statement of Purpose
Faculty members are wonderful resources to review polished drafts of personal statements.
Letters of Recommendation
Recommendation letters provide contextual information about you as a person and your academic potential from the perspective of a writer who is best placed to evaluate you against similar applicants. Most schools require 2 to 4 letters. Career Services offers to store and send recommendation letters – contact us for more information. However, most programs now ask recommenders to submit copies online at the point at which you apply. Download our handout on Asking for Letters of Recommendation, or the FERPA Form to waive your right to see written reference letters.
All requests for transcripts must be posed to the Registrar’s Office.
Supplemental Essays/Portfolios
Supplemental essays, portfolios or other pieces of work may be required to showcase your experience, commitment, or understanding of the field to which you aspire.
Resumes and CVs are succinct ways to capture the breadth of your collegiate experience. Often, these documents are used to place students in assistantships.


You will not receive the same consideration—or often consideration at all—if all components of your application are not submitted by the deadline. In fact, many processes give preference of their financial resources to those who demonstrate their focus and commitment by applying early. Our career advisors and faculty members will help you learn how to navigate the application process. Contact us to schedule an appointment. Lastly, be sure to respond to offers by the program’s stated deadline.


Funding can be a combination of student loans, assistantships (paid, part-time internships), grants, fellowships or scholarships. Each institution has a distinct way and timeframe to consider the financial needs of its students. Be aware that assistantship or fellowship application processes are likely concurrent to the application process. In fact, your admission decision may hinge upon whether you are offered an assistantship. The program’s coordinator or website is the best resource for this information. Even if assistantships are not offered directly through your prospective department, inquire as to what assistantships might be possible through the university—especially the student services division.