Choosing a Graduate Program
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Choosing a Graduate Program

Most graduate programs are pretty specialized, so it’s important to focus your attention on just a few schools, rather than applying to everything under the sun. Not to mention that the costs can add up, just think back to when you were applying for undergrad.

When choosing a graduate program, you should:

  1. Create a targeted list of schools you wish to apply to and that you believe you will be admitted to. While it is great to have a dream-school that might be a long shot, you should also pick some “safety” schools which you are fairly certain you’ll get into.
  2. Consider program faculty since the academic experience is the most important piece and will impact your ultimate goals. Quality of faculty and the number of whom do research in your area of interest might be the deciding factor.
  3. Do research! Talk to faculty AND students of that program. You should be able to get in contact with current students (or past ones) via the program director. Conduct an informational interview about why they chose that program, would they choose it again, and why. They are the experts.
  4. Make sure the campus meets your needs. Is their focus on their undergraduate or graduate population? Is that what you are looking for? Do they have enough labs, libraries, assistantships, fellowships?

Applying to Graduate School

The application process for graduate schools varies depending on the program you are applying to. Use these tips as a starting point to help you prepare for applying to graduate schools.

  1. Start your process by researching schools that interest you. Some resources that might help you narrow down your list are the US News Education Rankings,, Peterson’s, and Accredited Schools Online.
  2. After deciding on schools, research their application process online. Each application has slight variations, but most require an official transcript, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, a copy of your resume, (link to resume page) and a score from a required admissions exam.
  3. Once you’ve made a list of each school’s requirements and gathered the documents you need to apply, you can begin filling out the application.

The following pages will help you be successful in the graduate school application process. Of course, if you still have questions or would like additional assistance, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with an advisor.

Visit the College of Graduate Studies for detailed information about APSU's graduate programs.