The prospect of graduate or professional school is an exciting one!
As you begin the process of exploring programs of interest, and preparing to submit applications, here are three main points to keep in mind:
Take time to find the right program fit!
When possible, visit the schools/programs that interest you. You’ll have the opportunity to see how the campus is laid out and learn about the surrounding area. Is it in close proximity to things you enjoy? What are the housing options like? What do the labs, studios and/or classroom facilities that you would be learning in look like? Overall, does it seem like the type of environment you will like to spend time in?
You’ll also have the chance to connect with program directors, faculty and current graduate students. You’ll want to consider whether or not the program has a professor who shares your research areas of interest. And meeting current students is especially important if your program will use a “cohort” model – meaning you will work with the same people throughout the duration of the program.
Finally, take time to research class options – some programs will provide more flexible schedule options including evening, weekend or online classes, while other programs may be more traditional and have classes throughout the day.
Graduate programs might require an entrance exam
The majority of graduate and professional programs will require you to complete an entrance exam, similar to taking the SAT or ACT when applying to UMBC. See below for which exam you might be expected to take:
- Dental School: DAT (Dental Admission Test)
- Business and Management Schools: GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test)
- Master’s and Doctoral Programs: GRE (Graduate Record Examination) *Most common graduate admissions exam*
- Law School: LSAT (Law School Admission Test)
- Medical School: MCAT (Medical College Admission Test)
- Pharmacy School: PCAT (Pharmacy College Admission Test)
Letters of Recommendation – ask early and ask people who know you best!
Most applications to graduate or professional school will require you to submit letters of recommendation. Your recommenders should be individuals who know you well, such as a professor who taught you in several courses or serves as your research mentor.
Ideally, you’ll set up a meeting to ask for a recommendation face-to-face, which will help emphasize how important the letter is to you and give you the chance to provide context and answer questions your prospective recommender might have.
Allow at least two months prior to the deadline to give your recommenders enough time to complete the recommendation.
See below for some other helpful links as you continue to prepare for your next steps!
The Graduate School at UMBC
Applying to Graduate Schools via UMBC Career Center