The Fall 2018 semester has just begun, but the University of Charleston, S.C. is already looking forward to welcoming our Spring, Summer, and Fall 2019 graduate students!
The application period began on August 1, 2018 for all 24 degree and 10 certificate programs offered here at UCSC. Each degree and certificate program has their own admissions requirements, so it’s important to ensure you are prepared to apply. These are just a few tips to keep in mind when applying for a graduate program. Applying to graduate school is big step in your academic or professional career, but that doesn’t mean it has to be difficult!
- Check the admissions requirements for the program in which you are interested. The best way to ensure you meet the requirements of your chosen program are to either check the program’s website, or speak with the Program Director or Program Coordinator directly. Not only will this provide you with a face-to-face interaction with a professional in your chosen field, meeting with the Program Director helps put a face to the name on your application, and gets you both excited about the application process.
- Set aside money for application fees, entrance exams, and transcripts. Most institutions, UCSC included, require an application fee when submitting your application. Planning ahead of time for expenses associated with applying for graduate school will help ensure a smoother, stress-free process. Institutions will also oftentimes charge for sending official transcripts to potential graduate schools, and the various entrance exams also have fees associated. These entrance exams will be covered more fully in the next section.
- Determine which entrance exam you will need to take. For most graduate programs, the GRE is the required entrance examination. Split into three sections, Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing, the GRE aims to reflect to admissions boards that you are prepared for the type of work and thinking process needed in a graduate environment. Free test prep is available for the GRE at ets.org/gre , which is where you also can register to take the exam.
Additionally, some programs will accept another test score called the GMAT, namely business programs. The GMAT is split into four sections, Verbal Reasoning, Analytical Writing, Quantitative Reasoning, and Integrated Reasoning, and aims to measure one’s critical thinking and reasoning skills, which are very relevant to business programs. Test prep and registration can be found at www.mba.com.
- Solicit letters of recommendation. These are important admissions materials, and serve as your opportunity to have the skills and experiences covered in your resume or cover letter validated and verified by working professionals. They are a chance to highlight your work ethic, experience, intelligence, and personality. Ensure you ask individuals who can positively, and honestly, speak to your readiness for graduate studies when soliciting for recommendations.
- Request transcripts from all academic institutions you have attended. It’s important to have these transcripts be both official and sent directly from your previous academic institutions. Ensure you allow plenty of time before the application closing date to have the transcripts sent. It’s a good practice to include an unofficial copy of your transcripts with your application, just in case!
- Write your statement of purpose or goals. This is a very important component of your application. At this stage, the admissions board will have seen your resume, your transcripts, and your letters of recommendation. The personal statement is your chance to speak directly to the admissions board. Discuss your motivations for choosing this graduate program, your aspirations during and after graduate school, what makes you a good fit for the program, and why the program is a good fit for you. The personal statement is also a great place to address any potential weak points of your application, and how you’ve worked to overcome them.
- Submitting your application. It’s a good practice to reach out to the admissions office to ensure all your application materials have been received once you hit that submit button. Following up with recommendation writers is also a great proactive step in ensuring all your application materials are received by the deadline.
Graduate school is an excellent opportunity to take courses directly related to your chosen field, network with advanced professionals, and build background and experience in your career path. Be sure to check with your program for application deadlines for the coming semesters. For more information on admission to UCSC, visit our website at http://gradschool.cofc.edu/admission-information/index.php