Choosing the graduate program that is right for you requires you to think about many options!  Our Career Coaches can help you understand the process of finding and evaluating a graduate program, and help create a plan that works for you; you can schedule an appointment here.

If you need assistance planning for medical, dental, veterinarian or any other type of health profession, be sure to check out the Health Professions Office.  

EXPLORING GRADUATE SCHOOL OPTIONS

Do Your Research- Is graduate school needed in your field of study? What are the education requirements for most of the careers you are considering? Will an advanced degree in your field provide additional career opportunities? The Occupational Outlook Handbook is a great resource to do this kind of research. 

Determine your Motivations - Is this a subject that you are genuinely looking to study further and have a significant interest in? Is there specific knowledge or skills that you are looking to gain from graduate school? Be honest with yourself and try not to mistake going to graduate school as a postponement of a job search. You must be willing to invest the time, energy, and money associated with attending graduate school and be fully aware of those commitments. 

Figure out your Finances- Can you financially afford to attend graduate school? Are you willing to take out student loans? Research different grants, fellowships, or assistantships that institutions offer. What type of financial aid packages do they offer? How long is the program? 

General Program Exploration Websites:

 GradSchools               Guide to Your PhD 
 Peterson's               PhD Data Resources
 US News Grad School Rankings               The Princeton Review

 

Texas Colleges & Universities Graduate School Program Resources:

 Astronomy       Biochemistry       Biology       Biotechnology 
 Chemistry      Computer Science       Environmental Science       HDFS 
 Mathematics       Nutrition      Physics       Public Health
 Statistics      Textiles & Apparel  

Career Services does not recommend or endorse any of the above programs; this is simply a list of the graduate programs within the state of Texas that fall within these respective areas. If you have any questions about how to evaluate programs, please make an appointment with a Career Coach by calling 512-471-6700 or scheduling online here.

CREATING A TIMELINE

There are many things to take into consideration before, during, and after you have applied to graduate school. The timeline below will serve as a starting point when preparing for the process. Take a close look at the steps that you can take early on during undergrad to help you jumpstart this new chapter in your life.

Getting Started:

  • Think about getting involved in research; To figure out professors you might like to work with visit labs or read about their research at http://www.utexas.edu/research/
  • Schedule an appointment with a Career Coach to discuss your options
  • Start gaining volunteer experience in your field of interest
  • Talk to people in the field you are interested in to determine if graduate school is right for you

One-two Years Before Program Starts:

  • Begin researching graduate programs you are interested in applying to
  • Visit the schools of interest
  • Register for the graduate admissions test (GRE); Take the GRE course if you want some test prep (GRE website also has practice tests for free!)
  • Begin thinking about who could write your letters of recommendation

Summer Before Applications Open:

  • Research financial aid information
  • Take the GRE if not already completed
  • Finalize the schools you plan on applying to
  • Determine what application components you will need for the programs you are interested in
  • Request letters of recommendation
  • Begin compiling your application components: Personal Statement, Resume/CV, Transcript, and any additional materials

Fall of Application Year:

  • September: Most applications open
  • Finalize personal statement and application essay(s)
  • Request official transcript(s) to be sent to the schools in which you applied
  • Send in letters of recommendation
  • Keep a copy of all materials for yourself

Spring of Application Year:

  • Check to make sure all institutions have received all of your application materials
  • Attend interviews if requested
  • Visit schools that accept you to help you make your decision
  • Make final decisions on graduate school offers and notify the colleges and universities of your decision
  • Send thank you notes to people who wrote your recommendation letters and helped you with the process, telling them of your success and future plans

PREPARING YOUR APPLICATION DOCUMENTS

There are many documents you may need to prepare for graduate school, including a personal statement or essay, research statement, and/or recommendation letters.  Here are some helpful resources to get you started:

Essays: You can schedule an appointment to talk with a Career Coach about ideas for writing an essay or get feedback on the content you have already prepared.  

Letters of Recommendation: Typically, you will need a few letters of recommendation.   Use professional references, including present or past faculty, supervisors, or other academic references.  Start building relationships early!

Curricula Vitae (CV) or Resume:  You may be asked to submit one of these documents with your application.  Graduate school programs will look to assess your involvement with academic, co-curricular, and relevant work/internship experience.  

ENTRANCE EXAMS

Entrance exams are required for most graduate and professional school programs.  Use the links below to access more information about each exam on their specific websites:

You can read more about the various preparatory resources available to you here.

MAKING YOUR DECISION

Once you have received your offers to graduate school, making a decision can be difficult if you have received multiple offers.  There are many different factors that should be considered when making your decision.  Keep in mind that you are looking for the program that will be the best fit for your interests, career goals, and needs.

Criteria for Choosing a Graduate Program

  1. Reputation of the School, Department and Faculty
  2. Faculty to Student Ratio
  3. Focus of the Program
  4. Type and Quality of Research and Facilities
  5. Geographic Location
  6. Alumni Employment Statistics
  7. Financial Aid and Funding Offered