If you’re thinking of graduate studies, there’s a lot to ponder. Which program is best, should I go now, how do I make myself competitive? These are great questions. Here are some answers to get you started.

Prepare Applications

While application requirements vary for each graduate program, there are some materials many professional schools (medical, dental, law, business, etc.) and academic graduate programs (academic Master's and Ph.D. degrees) include in the application process. Make sure to check the potential future program’s website for requirements or with a graduate program coordinator if you have any questions. Graduate programs often require:

  • Application form and fee
  • Transcripts
  • A personal statement, research statement or essay responses
  • An entrance exam such as the GREs (www.ets.org), MCAT or LSAT
  • Letters of recommendation
  • A résumé or CV 

It's important to begin preparing these materials in advance and give yourself plenty of time to make changes if necessary. Read our tips on assembling materials for applications so you can be fully prepared.

The Oregon State Graduate School website is also a great resource to guide you through the graduate school application process.

Did You Know Oregon State Offers a Class to Help You Evaluate and Prep for Grad School?

Applying for graduate or professional school can be a daunting task. Learn how to overcome hurdles like where to apply, how to choose an advisor, what to look for in a school, and how to obtain funding with Grad 420 (offered online). More information here.

Graduate school considerations and timing

Explore Programs

We recommend thoroughly researching programs and consulting with your professors and advisors. Make sure to search for accredited graduate programs, and don't be afraid to search in a variety of disciplines — you never know what you'll find! Career advisors can also assist you with making the decision about whether to go to grad school, essay feedback and mock interviews.

You can start your search of possible graduate programs using the following resources. Also seek advice from current grad students in programs of interest, faculty mentors, alumni in your field and the Oregon State Graduate School:

Finance Graduate School

Financial aid for post-baccalaureate education generally is awarded in two forms: gift-aid and self-help aid. Gift-aid includes grants, fellowships and scholarships (institutional or external) that do not have to be repaid or earned. Self-help aid includes loans that must be repaid or work-study funds that must be earned through working on campus. Assistantships where a program will waive your tuition and pay you a stipend while you attend school in exchange for you conducting research or teaching for the program are particularly common in the sciences. For example, you may work in a professor’s microbiology lab, conduct investigations and publish your findings during a research assistantship, or you may teach Writing 101 classes to first year students as part of a master’s of English teaching assistantship for a stipend.

Make sure you research all possibilities before attending a graduate program and annually while enrolled in one. Tips on funding graduate education are available through Oregon State's graduate school.