Preparing for Graduate/Professional School

Considering Graduate or Professional School?

Graduate/Professional study requires a significant commitment of time and money with rigorous academic demands. Research available opportunities & reflect on your goals, strengths, and motivation. START EARLY!

  • Compelling career interest
  • Career field requires an advanced degree
  • More opportunities for advancement
  • Increased earning potential

  • Unsure of what to do after OWU
  • Can’t find a job or don’t feel ready to enter the workforce
  • Want to please your parents or friends

Steps in Preparing

Please see below for steps you should take in the exploration and application process. Remember to determine your career goals and meet with a Career Catalyst who can assist you in clarifying your interests. Career Connection offers a wealth of programs related to Grad School including our “Demystifying the Path to Grad School” series.

Get familiar with the curriculum, program requirements, reputation and faculty research interests. Speak with faculty and alumni for program recommendations.

Use the following websites to help you gather information:

Create an Excel / Google spreadsheet so you can easily compare the programs you’ve found & stay on target to meet deadlines.

Factors to consider when comparing schools and programs:

  • Reputation of the school, program and faculty.
  • Location, class size, facilities, and housing options.
  • Requirements, departmental courses, and program emphasis.
  • Application fee and requirements, acceptance rate.
  • Theoretical frameworks, cohort models, and specialization areas.
  • Costs and financial aid offered; assistantships, fellowships.
  • Accreditation of the program.
  • Research options, placement sites, and faculty “fit.”
  • Career placement data.

OWU Libraries has purchased access to the Peterson Test Prep platform for
students! This resource provides study materials & interactive practice
tests for the GRE, LSAT, GMAT, MCAT, MAT, and PCAT!

Create an account with Peterson using OWU Credentials to use the site/test prep materials.

Important Tips & Notes:

  • Take entrance exams early! Review the graduate school planning timeline.
  • Tests can cost anywhere from $100 – $500. Make a plan to budget for &
    schedule tests required for your program of interest.
  • It may take weeks to receive official scores depending on the exam, so plan accordingly.
  • Some schools adjusted entrance exam requirements after COVID. Check program websites for updated information.
  • Test results may still be beneficial for financial support, assistantships, and for off-setting a lower GPA.
  • The GRE, LSAT, & GMAT scores are all valid for 5 years, and the GMAT scores are valid for 3 years.

Further details and requirements can be found on each program’s website.

At least 2 readers are recommended for your personal statements. Many programs will list specific questions you must address, while others may ask for a statement or biography.

Pay careful attention to page/word limits, and topics you’re asked to address in your essay. Key organization tip: Create a Google/Word doc & folder to store your personal statement & essay responses (along with your evaluation spreadsheet!).

To help you get started, consider the following questions:

  • What is special, unique, distinctive, and/or impressive about you or your life story?
  • What details of your life (personal or family problems, history, people or events that have shaped you or influenced your goals) might help the committee better understand you or help set you apart from other applicants?
  • When and how did you become interested in this field? What have you learned about it (and about yourself) that has further stimulated your interest in this field?
  • How have hands-on & work experiences contributed to your growth?
    What are your career goals/ ambitions?
  • Are there any gaps or discrepancies in your academic record that you should explain?
  • Have you had to overcome any unusual obstacles or hardships in your life?
  • What personal characteristics and skills do you possess that would improve your prospects for success in the field or profession? Is there a way to demonstrate or document that you have these characteristics?
  • What are the most compelling reasons you can give for the admissions committee to be interested in you?

Most programs require 2-4 letters to be written by faculty/ other professionals who can speak for your ability to do well in graduate school (academic/ student organization advisors, professors, internship supervisors, etc.).

Ask the recommender at least 6 weeks before the deadline if they are willing to write a positive & thorough letter; provide them a deadline before the due date for wiggle room. Provide references with your resume, personal statement, and instructions for each school ( whether sealed or unsealed letters & stamped / addressed envelopes if mailed). Sign forms & fill out student section before giving them to your reference.


News & Advice

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Hours Drop-Ins
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(740) 368-3152

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61 S. Sandusky St.
Delaware, OH 43015