Do's & Don'ts for Applying to Graduate School


  • Start your graduate school application materials one to one-and-a-half years before you plan to apply.
  • Be prompt with your application materials by double-checking all of your deadlines. They may be different than undergraduate deadlines.
  • Make every element of your application the best it can be (read carefully, ensure everything needed is completed, proofread, and have someone else proofread your materials).
  • Get your financial aid application in as early as possible. Financial aid for graduate school is limited.
  • Start asking individuals for letters of recommendation at least six months before your application deadline.
  • Be truthful and do not exaggerate your accomplishments.
  • Keep copies of all of your application materials.


  • Use correction fluid. If you type your application, use a correctable typewriter or liftoff strips to correct mistakes. Your best option is to fill out your application online if you can.
  • Leave blank spaces. Missing information may cause your application to be sent back or delayed.
  • Be unclear. If the question calls for a specific answer, don’t try to dodge it by being vague.
  • Approach people about letters of recommendation at the last minute.
  • Go overboard on your personal essay. Treat it as a professional application.
  • Assume the admission office has everything they need. Wait two weeks after sending your materials and follow up to make sure they received everything.
  • Put things off.

Additional Resources

US News and World Report – Best Graduate Schools
U.S. News and World Report discloses their annual “Best Graduate Schools” list and provides users with the best graduate schools within many different fields of study.
With almost 60,000 programs listed in its free directory, is the leading online resource for graduate school. You can use this site to find your ideal program by searching by subject, location and even school.

A comprehensive website which offers resources on how to search, choose, get admitted, pay, and even how to prepare for entrance exams.


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