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Can I Get In?

Graduate schools consider a number of factors in their admission decisions. Assess your credentials to see if you are a competitive candidate.

Traditional Criteria
Your undergraduate GPA and your GRE or GMAT scores are the traditional criteria used. Schools are looking for students in the top third of their class with above average (and sometimes well above average) GRE scores. If you have a 2.0 GPA, then you do not have a good chance of getting into most graduate schools.

GPA in Your Major
Graduate work is specialized study in a single field, therefore your performance in your major may be more indicative of your ability to succeed in graduate school than your cumulative GPA. For example, a chemistry major might have a very high GPA in their major and a lower GPA outside of it, which is okay. Schools might also focus on your performance in your junior and senior years as more representative of your abilities.

Research Experience
Research experience is of critical importance in the sciences. Schools will consider your research experience as one way to evaluate your candidacy. The awarding of research assistantships may be based on the quality and extent of your undergraduate research.

Whether you like it or not, your performance on standardized tests is critical to your chances of admission and to your chances of getting a scholarship. You should be as prepared as possible going into these exams because your competitors for a place in the entering class certainly will be.

Senior Thesis
Your senior thesis should be a showcase of your very best academic work, and it could reflect your ability to perform at the graduate level.

Letters of Recommendation
These should be from professors in your department who are familiar with your academic abilities.

Personal Statements/Statements of Purpose
Personal Statements provide an opportunity for you to communicate that you are a focused, dedicated student who has clearly thought through your decision to go to graduate school.

Include relevant work experience, internships, volunteer work, extracurricular activity, academic honors, and awards.

Schools are looking for something outstanding and distinctive-for evidence that you can perform high-level, scholarly work, whether that is in a lab or in the classroom

The difference in admission between graduate school and law school is that graduate school admission is often a far more personal process. Your application goes to the academic department to which you are applying, and the department accepts or rejects your application, not the admission office.

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