Admission requirements vary for each program. Below are some of the basic materials you may need to apply.
Application and Fee
Each school and sometimes the specific department, requires its own application and non-refundable application fee. It is recommended that you create drafts to be reviewed by faculty, Coordinator of Major Fellowships and Pre-Professional Advising or Career Services staff. It is important to submit a neatly typed, thorough application and the appropriate fee by the deadline. Remember to keep a copy of your completed application for your records.
Admissions Test Scores
The admissions tests required vary from institution to institution. The school's website will include information on which test (if any) is required. Preparation books and computerized study materials highlight directions and typical questions on the examination. Preparation courses review the directions, format and content of the exams, provide test-taking strategies and administer practice exams. It takes approximately four to six weeks for scores on admissions tests to be reported, so plan to take the exams early enough to meet required deadlines. Contact Career Services for test preparation books.
- The most common admissions test
- Designed to measure verbal, quantitative and analytical writing.
- Subject Tests are offered in biochemistry/cell and molecular biology, biology, chemistry, computer science, literature in English, mathematics, physics and psychology.
- More information and a list of test centers can be found the GRE website. The nearest test center is UW-Oshkosh.
- Used primarily for business and management programs, such as the MBA
- Designed to measure analytical, writing, quantitative, verbal and reading skills
- Does not measure business knowledge or skill
- More information and a list of test centers can be found at mba.com/us. The nearest test center is in Milwaukee.
- Designed to measure skills that are considered essential for success in law school:
- Reading and comprehension of complex texts with accuracy and insight
- Organization and management of information and the ability to draw reasonable inferences from it
- Ability to think critically, and the analysis and evaluation of the reasoning and arguments of others
- A 35-minute, unscored writing sample is administered at the end of the test. Copies of your writing sample are sent to all law schools to which you apply.
- Find more information and a list of test centers. The nearest test center is at UW-Green Bay.
NOTE: The Credential Assembly Service (CAS) combines your transcripts, test scores and evaluations into a single report that is sent to law schools when you apply. Find more information.
- A high-level mental ability test requiring the solution of problems stated as analogies.
- Designed to reflect candidates' analytical thinking.
- Subject matter includes fine arts, literature, math, natural sciences and social sciences.
- Get more information and a list of test centers.
- Designed to assess problem solving, critical thinking and knowledge of natural, behavioral and social science concepts and principles prerequisite to the study of medicine.
- Almost all US medical schools require the MCAT.
- Find more information and a list of test centers.
- Measures general academic ability and scientific knowledge necessary for the commencement of pharmaceutical education.
- More information and a list of test centers
- Comprised of four sections, including natural sciences, perceptual ability, reading comprehension and quantitative reasoning.
- Get more information and a list of test centers.
Grade Point Average
GPA is one important factor for admission. How the GPA is weighed varies from one institution to another. Candidates are typically asked to list overall GPA and GPA in their major on the application. It is advisable to explain any unusual academic pattern or very poor grades.
An official transcript should be requested from the Registrar's Office. It demonstrates your receipt of an undergraduate degree and shows the array of coursework in which you were enrolled as well as the grades received.
Letters of Recommendation
Usually two or three letters of recommendation are required by graduate schools. Ask individuals who will be in a position to best assess your ability to perform well in the program to which you are applying (i.e. professors) or who can attest to your good character and interest in the field (i.e. employers or internship supervisors). Graduate schools usually request recommendations from faculty. Make sure to request recommendations at least one month prior to the due date and consider including a copy of your résumé or personal statement.
Samples of Previous Work
For entrance to some graduate programs, examples of your work will be required. Most often these include writing samples, art portfolios or audition tapes.
Specific Undergraduate Major
Some programs require either one or several undergraduate majors. Many programs require undergraduate courses from specific disciplines.
Personal Statement or Essays
In a statement of purpose you should articulate your goals. Indicate why you are interested in the field of study, the particular graduate school and the specific program as well as your related background. Also, emphasize what you have to offer the program and how you can benefit from it. If other essays are required, be sure to answer the specific questions and stay within the designated word limits. Research the programs to which you are applying so that your responses can be unique and targeted to each school. Keep a copy of essays for your own records.
Some programs require previous work experience. This shows your interest, commitment and desire to continue in the particular field and allows you to relate what you will learn in the classroom to the working world.
An interview is required for entrance into some graduate programs. Interview formats vary considerably. Some programs will request applicants to meet for 30 minutes to an hour with a faculty member and other interviews will be full day or weekend events with students, faculty and other applicants. Expect to pay for your own travel and lodging expenses.
During your interview you will likely talk with several faculty members as well as students. You might engage in small group discussions with students, faculty and other applicants. Participate in discussions but do not monopolize the conversation. Demonstrate your listening skills. The interviewers may have read your application file, but don't expect them to remember everything about you. Be forthcoming about your experiences, strengths and professional goals.
In meetings with current graduate students, try to ask questions to learn what they really think about their advisors and the program. Most students will be forthcoming, especially in one-on-one conversations. Don't underestimate the potential influence of current graduate students. Present your best side because current graduate students may be in a position to help or hurt your application. Some interviews include social events. Don't drink (even if others do). Remember that even though it seems like a party, it's an interview. Assume you are being evaluated at all times.
Refer to the Interviews section, starting on page 57 for more tips.
- Why did you choose this graduate program?
- What are some of the reasons that you have chosen this profession?
- Tell me about your experience in the field.
- Why did you choose the college you attended?
- What are some of the reasons why we should accept you over the other applicants?
- Why do you want to go to graduate school now, rather than working for a few years first?
- If you are not accepted into graduate school, what would you do?
- How do you think grades and test scores should be evaluated for graduate school admission?
- What are your long range career goals?
- Describe three of your strengths and three of your weaknesses.
- What will your lifestyle be like ten years from now?
- If you could do anything at all with your life and money was no object, what would it be?
- What are some of the rewards and frustrations of this profession?
- What accomplishment has given you the greatest satisfaction?
- What do you think your life will be like while you are in graduate school? How will you deal with problems? How do you work under pressure?
- What was your most rewarding college experience?
- What is important to you?
- What college courses did you like the most? Least? Why?
- Tell me about yourself.
- How would your best friend describe you? Your worst enemy?
- Do you think that your grades and test scores are a good indication of your academic achievement?