Applying to Graduate School

UMass students

Are you considering graduate school? The professional advisors within the Career Planning Office are happy to help with your graduate school applications, including reviewing resumes/CV’s and personal statements.

Before pursuing additional education, ask yourself:

  • Why do I want to go to graduate school?
  • Do I need a graduate degree to further my career?
  • Do I have the passion needed to engage in intensive study?
  • What program will best fit my needs and interests?
  • Should I develop more hands-on experience in my field before attending graduate school?
  • Can I afford to go to graduate school?

Do your research for graduate and professional schools. Don't go to grad school just because you don't know what else to do!  Here is a more extensive checklist to help you make your decision about graduate school:

If you are unclear about your options, meet with a Career Advisor by scheduling an appointment through Handshake. You may find it helpful to review this Graduate School presentation, as well. Many resources are also available online:

Graduate School Testing and Application Websites:

Graduate School Testing Preparation:

Personal Statements are an important part of the graduate school application. This is your chance to share your story and the path that led you to apply to grad school. Some hints:

  • Find your unique angle – what was your “ah ha!” moment that inspired you to apply?
  • Be genuine – share your own story and let the reader get to know you.
  • Stay focused-chose a theme and stick to it, support it with specific examples.
  • Good writing is simple writing – not too flowery or formal.
  • Keep it relevant to why, make sure you are answering any questions.
  • Follow any guidelines provided exactly.
  • Don’t rehash your resume or other parts of the application.
  • Ask yourself:
    • Are there any bumps in my academic record and what were the reasons for them? Show how you worked to make sure they didn’t happen again.
    • What lessons have I learned in life thus far?
    • What mistakes have I made and what have I learned from them? Acknowledging mistakes and what you have learned from them can have a profound effect on otherwise marginal applicants.
    • What makes my heart/soul sing?
    • What would I do all day if I had a day free?
    • What is on my bucket list?

Personal Statement Tips