Getting into graduate school is not something to take lightly. I learned a lot about this topic before starting my master’s degree in aviation human factors at Florida Tech. Here are five tips that can help get you on the right path toward getting accepted into graduate school.
1. The GRE is as hard as you make it.
The GRE is a pretty intimidating test to most people, but it is only as hard as you make it. Plan ahead and start studying early. Take a practice test, then take it again. There is no such thing as being overly prepared. Also, take the test early. If you do not like the score you got the first time around, it is all right to take it again.
2. Ask for recommendation letters early!
You should give your recommenders at least two months or more to write a letter of recommendation for you. They are incredibly busy and doing you a FAVOR by writing you a reference. When you ask early, there is a better chance that you will get them turned into the college on time; if you run into any snags, then you can resort to Plan B. Make sure to send your references a thank you note as well!
3. What’s better, less or more? More.
There may be one school that you have had your heart set on since you were a child, but you are not setting yourself up for success if you put all your eggs in one basket. Apply to more schools. You are increasing your odds of getting into a school. You never know, you might end up somewhere you didn’t ever expect; I know I sure did.
4. Network. Network. Network.
It is never too soon to start networking. During the application process, start calling the school and talking with the professors in the department you are applying to. It will give you a chance to ask them the burning questions about what to expect and so forth. It’s like a job; it helps to know people and it shows initiative when you reach out to the people you will be working with.
5. Get pumped!
You have decided to pursue your graduate degree, so get excited! Graduate school is a time to become a professional in an area that you are passionate about. The enthusiasm you feel will shine through your application and in your letter of recommendations after your references hear all about this endeavor you are undertaking.
I wish you good luck on this adventure!