Thinking about graduate school? About 60% of St. Mary's students attend graduate or professional school within 5 years out, so you are in good company! Our challenging curriculum prepares students well for the rigors of graduate school, and gives them a competitive edge in the application process. That said, there is still a lot of work to be done before you head off to your next institution. Read on to learn about some valuable tools, resources, and articles that will assist you in your decision-making and application process. Also, check our Events Calendar for upcoming programs related to graduate school.
Application Process Overview
PDF Guide to Graduate School
Excellent printable guide for grad and professional school application.
Guide to Applying to Graduate School
This Web page on the UMBC site provides a good timeline and brief overview of preparation, selection, application, and funding.
Peterson's Graduate Planner
Includes valuable articles, tools, and links that will help students plan, find a school, prepare for testing, apply, and fund their education; very comprehensive!
The About.com Guide to Getting into Graduate School
Includes MANY specific articles that appear to be written by a reputable source on such topics as applications, essays, recommendation letters, exams, and interviews. Also includes information on applying to med, law, and business programs.
Senior Year Time Table
Great overview of what to do when.
"Kisses of Death" in the Grad School Application Process
Many resources tell you what to do when you apply....this one tells you what NOT to do. Represents results of a survey of psychology admissions chairs, but relevant to all disciplines.
Professional organization websites (e.g., American Psychological Association, American Historical Association) often provide good discipline-specific information about all steps in this process, as well as about specific programs in relevant fields. Many also provide information about fellowships and career paths. You can find them by searching the Web, asking your professors, or using this tool.
OWL Guide to Writing a Personal Statement
Excellent resources from the Purdue Online Writing Lab. Be sure to explore the other resources linked from this page--examples, advice, and Top 10 rules. (We have a book in our Career Library that has dozens of examples, so pay us a visit if you are struggling to get started!)
Definition of a Personal Statement
This excellent but brief overview was written about nationally competitive scholarships such as the Rhodes, but its main points apply to all statements.
SMCM Writing Center
Need some feedback or help getting started? All tutors at the Writing Center have received training on personal statement writing. Click above to make an appointment!
Resumes & Vitas
SMCM Guide to Writing Resumes & Vitas
This 12-page PDF is a great place to start. It includes an overview of resume/vita styles, general guidelines, a worksheet to help you identify and describe your transferable skills, and relevant examples.
Additional Curriculum Vitae ("CV") Resources
Some schools may request a vita, which is an academic resume that follows a somewhat different format. These links will help to get you started.
OWL Guide to CVs
Overview of strategies for writing an effective CV.
Additional Vita Categories
Overview is similar to that of other links, but includes a long list of possible vita categories that may help you identify the best category labels for your own vita.
Additional Resume Resources
If your applications require a resume, check out our page of additional resume-related resources.
How to ask for letters of recommendation
You can't write the letters yourself, but you can take steps to be sure they are as strong as possible.
The official LSAT exam is offered on campus each June and October
The official paper-based GRE Subject Test is offered on campus each November
Note that we are not able to offer the GRE General test because it is a computer-based test.
Graduate & Professional Entrance Exam Web Sites (In addition to registration procedures, most include study tips, practice exams to graduate school application resources
GRE (Graduate Record Exam)
LSAT (Law School Admissions Test)
GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test)
MCAT (Medical College Admission Test)
DAT (Dental Admission Test)
OAT (Optometry Admission Test)
MAT (Miller Analogies Test)
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)
Useful articles and search tool. Once you have identified target schools you may need to use a search engine to find their website as gradschools.com only seems to link to sponsoring schools.
This site seems to provide a URL for each school--helpful!
US News Rankings
Every year US News & World Report releases rankings of top schools in the most common graduate disciplines.
As mentioned above, professional organization Web sites are another common source of program selection tools.
Unlike other graduate programs, it is most common for individuals pursuing the MBA (Masters of Business Administration) to first acquire a few years of relevant business experience. A history of internships and other professional experiences will better enable you to secure an entry-level position in business, so be sure to check out the internships page and pay a visit to the Career Development Center! If you expect to pursue an advanced degree in business at a later date, it might still be advantageous to take the GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test) before or soon after you graduate because it is a test of general skills and abilities that are well-practiced in the college setting. MBA.com will provide everything you need for career planning, taking the GMAT, and identifying programs.
Thinking about law school? This brief article provides some good points to consider. Students interested in attending law school are encouraged to pursue an undergraduate degree in any field of interest to them. The typical timeline for students attending law school immediately after college is to take the LSAT in June or October of the senior year and to apply to schools in the Fall. The LSAT is a paper-based test offered in February, June, October, and December of each year at sites throughout Maryland (SMCM offers the test in June and October only). Registration is required one month in advance, and scores are released one month after the test. The CDC teams with Kaplan to offer mock LSAT exams throughout the year, which will help you to prepare for the real LSAT. Enrolling in PHIL215, Critical Thinking and Philosophical Writing (offered every semester), provides helpful preparation as well. We have several helpful resources in the CDC Resource Library, including previously administered LSATs, practice books, books on the application process, and One L, a highly recommended book about the first year in law school. In addition to visiting the CDC and becoming involved with PLAN (Pre-Law Advisory Network), students interested in law school should make an appointment to talk with faculty pre-law advisor Susan Grogan (email@example.com). The Law School Admission Council website provides many useful tools and resources related to deciding to attend, identifying and applying to schools, taking the LSAT, and financing your education. Discoverlaw.org, an LSAC site aimed at increasing diversity in the law profession, is great as well. ANYONE INTERESTED IN LAW SCHOOL SHOULD ATTEND THE LSAC Law School Forum in DC, which generally occurs on a Saturday in mid-June. If you decide to apply, this Law School Locator will help you identify schools where your LSAT schools and GPA will be competitive.
Medical School and other Health Professions
ExploreHealthCareeers.org is a great place to begin exploring health-related career options. For thos interested in medical school specifically, The student section of the Association of American Medical Colleges website has great resources. Experience through shadowing, interviewing, volunteering, and interning is essential. You should also consider joining the student pre-health club on campus, S.M.A.S.H. (St. Mary's Advising Students in Health), which coordinates the local hospital volunteer program and sponsors several events throughout the year.
Once you have envisioned a given career path for yourself, HSAC (Health Sciences Advisory Committee) can help you chart your course. HSAC is usually directed by Dr. Karen Crawford, but will be directed for the 2012-2013 year by Dr. Sabine Dillingham. This group provides the formal advising structure and institutional recommendation necessary for medical school, and assists students in applying to other competitive health fields as well. Keep in mind that the cycle for applying to medical school is a bit earlier than that for other graduate programs; students generally submit their materials in the summer before their senior year if they intend to proceed directly to medical school after graduation. Because of the early submission, the MCAT exam is generally taken in the Spring of the junior year.
HSAC has prepared an excellent, comprehensive website to help students navigate this process. The site is an essential resource for those students who are serious about pursuing a career in the health professions, as well as for those who are just beginning to explore this possibility. You can also contact the HealthSAC chair for more information.
Confused about where to go for health career advising? This handout should help!