Considering Graduate School?
If you are considering graduate or professional training after completing your undergraduate degree, there are several things you can be doing now to prepare.
- Many grad programs have deadlines early in the academic year, so be sure to start applying around October. Generally, you need to begin the grad school application process a year in advance of the start date.
- Visit the websites of the departments and programs you are interested in. Usually there is an option of either downloading information about the program or requesting more detailed information on applying and admissions. (In Canada and the US, post-BA programs are labeled graduate; in the UK, they are labeled postgraduate.)
- Schools and programs are different: they vary in terms of interests, ways of delivering the program, length of program, and requirements. They also vary in terms of tuition and the financial support available, such as scholarships and teaching and research assistantships.
- Try to speak to a student in the program to get the inside scoop. An admissions coordinator could arrange this. There may be a grad society either in the department or at the university and they may be able to arrange contact with a current grad student. Grad students also often have their own webpages with contact details. Try asking Mount Allison faculty about any Mounties who went to the school you’re interested in. Chances are they’d be happy to give you the lowdown.
- Every program has specific requirements and varies in terms of the degree of competition for admittance. Remember that there are a host of factors affecting your application: GPA, references, writing samples, course preparation, extracurricular activities, goals, and interests.
- Almost all post-BA programs will require at least one, more likely two or three, letters of recommendation from faculty who know you. Start early. Take the initiative in getting to know some of your professors. You may want to have a referee write a general letter of recommendation for you while their knowledge of you is recent and more detailed, rather than waiting months or even years until you need the recommendation.
- See also the career services coordinator.