Tips for Writing a Personal Statement
- Research the program, school and university you are thinking of applying to. Address in your statement why you want to apply to this program.
- Follow any specific instructions the program has provided for writing your statement.
- Help the program visualize you. Let them know who you are, what you have done, what you want to do and how you see that happening.
- Display confidence and sincerity.
- Share your passion, interests, experiences and career goals.
- Show you have a good understanding of the field, that you have a strong passion or curiosity about the field.
- Take time to reflect on yourself. Ask what has brought you here, to wanting to apply to a graduate program? What are your career goals?
- Help the admissions committee see that their program is the logical next step for you and that you are a good fit.
- Address any deficiencies in your academic record but don’t dwell on them.
- Proof, edit, revise and repeat! Ask others to read it and provide suggestions.
- Be prepared to talk about your statement with the faculty and staff who have reviewed it if you are invited for an interview.
You may find this Writing the Personal Statement document helpful as well.
Tips for Gaining Letters of Recommendations
- Set up an appointment with your potential recommenders to ask if they are willing to write a letter of recommendation.
- Give 2-4 weeks’ notice minimum and tell them your application deadline.
- Ask people who know your academic qualifications, preferably professors, or supervisors who can speak to your aptitude for the profession.
- Provide your transcripts, resume, and personal statement so the recommender completely understands your goals.
- Provide instructions on how to submit the letter. Many online applications request email addresses and the recommenders are sent an email asking them to submit the letter to a certain link. This is how IUPUI’s application works.
- Send your recommenders thank you notes or emails.
- Let you recommenders know the outcome of your application.
The most commonly taken test for graduate school is the GRE (Graduate Record Examination). Others include the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test), LSAT (Law School Admission Test), MCAT (Medical College Admission Test), PCAT (Pharmacy College Admission Test), (OAT) Optometry Admission Testing Program, and (DAT) Dental Admissions Test. International students are also required to take the TOEFL exam to show English proficiency.
Tips for Preparing for the GRE
- Register and take the test early.
- Take free practice tests.
- Plan on 1-3 months of preparation time.
There are a number of businesses that offer GRE test preparation materials. Some of them offer free practice tests and downloadable software for studying. They also offer online and live courses with a wide range in pricing. Be sure to take advantage of all the free materials before making any type of investment in classes. ETS, the company that administers the GRE and TOEFL, is a good starting point.
In addition, ETS offers a GRE Fee Reduction Program for individuals who can demonstrate financial need. Voucher users pay 50% of the regular test fee.
Find information on preparing for the LSAT and MCAT.