What Does It Take to Get into Grad School?

by A Guest Author

Applying for grad school? Congratulations on getting your Bachelor’s and striving for more. Getting your Master’s won’t be easy, but it’ll be worth it. The desire alone isn’t enough – you can’t start until you get accepted into a program. You’re familiar with the college admissions process because you already did it once before. Your grad school application will be similar, but it’s also different in some ways that are important to understand. Grad school is competitive, and not everyone is going to make the cut. What does it take for you to get into grad school? Here’s a look at some of the things the admissions boards will take into consideration.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

Your GPA is a measure of how well you did in college – how well you knew the subject matter and how hard you worked to earn your grades. However, it’s not quite that simple. There is no standard grading criteria across universities or professors – some are harder or more lenient than others. The admissions board will consider the context of your GPA by looking at your transcript to see what classes you took and what grades you got in courses most pertinent to your major. They may also consider the caliber or reputation of a university, or even different professors. While your GPA matters, it’s not the most important piece of the puzzle.
Graduate Record Exam (GRE)

Unlike GPA, GRE tests and scores are standard. Every college student takes the same type of exam, so their scores can be compared fairly. Your GRE scores are a more accurate way of comparing you to your fellow applicants than your GPA is. For this reasons, many college admissions boards will give more weight to your GRE score than your GPA. The test is important, so treat it as such. Study and retake it if necessary to improve your score. Some programs will not even consider you if you don’t have at least a certain score.
Letters of Recommendation

Your letters of recommendation are extremely important, and perhaps the most important factor in your application. The admissions board will listen closely to the opinions of your professors on how dedicated, hard working, and talented you are. If the professor is very renowned, their letter will be even more significant. Even if your GPA and GRE aren’t the best, a solid letter of recommendation from a professor can convince the admissions board that you deserve a spot in the program.
Personal Statement

Your personal statement is also very important. It’s your opportunity to introduce yourself to the board and tell them things about yourself that might not be reflected in the other portions of your application like your test scores and resume. You will need to convince the board of your determination and passion for your field of study. Your personal statement should be well considered, and it will hopefully leave the board with the impression that you’re a strong candidate for the program. A good personal statement can help any student make it to the top of the applicant pool.

About The Author:

Mark Weatherford is a high school English teacher and father who likes helping students survive their college experience. He loves to write and often covers topics ranging from parenting tips to advice on writing complex college essays. Mark uses Grammarly grammar checker.

Photo Credit: California University of Pennsylvania

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