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Grad School Guide

Background Research

  • Investigate schools and programs on the internet. One place to start is looking up the top ranked programs in the field you are interested in. Although rankings should be taken with a grain of salt — one may argue that there is no meaningful difference between programs ranked, say, #4 vs #5 —  they can provide some rough guidance about which universities have strong programs in your field of interest.
  • Ask your professors for advice on where to apply. They may have attended the same school(s) you are considering.
  • Consider applying to a handful of schools. Approximately 6-8 applications seems like a reasonable number. 20 applications are too many; 2 applications are too few. Some could be stretch schools, some should be safer bets.
  • Don’t be discouraged by application fees. If these fees present a financial burden it is perfectly OK to email the admissions chair or a staff member at each school and ask for the fee to be waived. There is a high probability that the fee will be waived if you can explain that it presents a financial hardship and/or if you are a U.S. citizen. Schools do not want the application fee to be a barrier for applicants.