Applying to Graduate/Professional School Programs

Once you have determined the best type of experience for you it’s time to prepare your application materials.  The best way to keep track of your applications is by creating a spreadsheet with a list of the positions you’re applying for and including details such as the program, institution name, location, program URL, and other important dates. This will make it easy to follow up with programs and will keep you organized as you move forward with your search.

Submit application forms and fees
You will generally submit graduate and professional school applications online. Some programs require that you submit parts of the application via mail, however, so it is important to read the application instructions carefully. Also, for electronic submissions, you will apply to some programs directly through their website, but some fields use a central application service (e.g. Physician Assistant degree programs generally use CASPA); admissions websites will instruct you on where to apply.

Most graduate and professional schools have an application fee that can range from $25-$100 or more. To manage application costs, make sure you intentionally select programs (it is not a good idea to “apply everywhere”) and be sure to check into fee waivers. Admissions websites will often have information about how to have application fees waived; if you cannot find this information, it never hurts to call and ask if fee waivers are available.

Revise your resume

Some graduate and professional schools request a resume as part of your application. A graduate school resume is similar to a job search resume because it includes a list of higher education, a summary of career-related experiences, and listings of extracurricular activities, honors/awards, and any other relevant involvement. Resumes created for graduate school may be a little longer than a job search resume and are, typically, one or two pages in length.

Order your transcripts

Most graduate and professional schools will require a copy of your undergraduate transcripts as a part of your application. Your undergraduate transcript is a complete list of all courses attempted and grades earned at Augustana.

Transcripts are available through the Registrar’s Office. Transcripts are most often processed within 4-5 business days of the request date. However, it can take up to 10 days to process depending on the volume of requests received.

Prepare for Interviews

Some graduate and professional schools include an interview as part of the application process. The interview gives the admissions committee an opportunity to determine if there is a match between you and their program, is an excellent opportunity to sell yourself, and discuss your qualifications, personal goals, and why you think you are a perfect match for the program.

WAIT for notification from schools
You may receive replies as early as March or April or as late as June. In some cases, you may be placed on a waiting list from which you may be selected as vacancies occur. These could be filled as late as immediately prior to the beginning of a new term. Before you begin receiving acceptances and rejections, rank the schools according to your preferences. As soon as you receive two offers, politely decline the less attractive one. Continue this process until you make your final choice. This may make it difficult if you have heard from School #2 but are still awaiting a response from School #1.

Before being pressured into sending a fee to a second-choice program, try to speed up the first-choice school with a polite inquiry about the status of your application. If they intend to notify applicants shortly, try to stall the other school. If there will be considerable time between the deadline for one school and the notification date of another, you may have to decide if you’re willing to pay for a guaranteed spot you may not use.

CELEBRATE your acceptance to the program of choice

  • Send deposit to the institution of your choice
  • Notify other institutions of your decision, allowing them to accept others in your place
  • Send thank you notes to your letter of recommendation writers and inform them of your plans

You will be poor in grad school.

Have fun the summer before you go!