COMPONENTS OF A GRADUATE SCHOOL APPLICATION
While graduate programs have (absolute) deadlines by which you must submit all materials, many have rolling admissions, which means that they consider and admit candidates as they receive their applications. Even those schools that do not have rolling admissions often give greater attention to applications received before the great rush at deadline time simply because they have more time to do so.
You should also know that submitting your application early may positively affect any financial aid that you may receive. While some schools may have deadlines as late as April 1, financial aid commitments, including fellowships, assistantships, and grant awards, are often made long before that; this is particularly true of doctoral programs.
- Applicant Information
- Admissions Statement
- Official Transcript(s), Academic Record
- Letters of Recommendation
- GRE (or other) Test Score
The form gives you an outline of what they require and asks basic information about yourself.
The statement of purpose, or personal statement are essay that accompany your application, is your opportunity to present yourself and your goals to the admissions committee. Your statement should be well written and should address your background, your areas of interest, and your future plans. Be as specific as you can about how the program to which you are applying would be the most beneficial to you and how it will enable you to eventually make a significant contribution in your field of study. You want to convince the admissions committee that their program and the qualities you bring are an excellent match. Some applications have topics they want you to address. Be sure to answer the questions that they’re asking.
Drafting your statement will be a time consuming process. You will need to write and rewrite. The staff of the Reading/Writing Center, Room 420 TH will be able to help; contact them early. Also, ask your advisors if they will look over your statement for guidance and suggestions.
You are asked to submit the official transcript for each undergraduate school you have attended. (If the grade is on your Hunter transcript, the original transcript would not be required) Graduate and professional schools obviously place greatest emphasis on grades in courses related to your field, but they do consider the totality of your academic record. Your most recent coursework may also be given more scrutiny than the grades from your earlier years. Some programs also look favorably upon a candidate who has pursued a particularly challenging course of study (a double major, a number of upper-level electives outside a student’s discipline, and so on), even if it has resulted in a somewhat lower overall GPA.
In short, while most schools do have some general GPA scale for evaluating candidates, they may place your GPA in the context of your particular undergraduate course of study. In the case of MFA candidates, your writing or art sample will carry a good deal of weight.
Letters of recommendation should be positive statements of support and should substantiate your ability to do well in the graduate program. Select faculty members who know you and your academic work in depth and ask if they can provide you with strong recommendations. (It is helpful if they know the graduate program to which you are applying). You should facilitate the process by providing the evaluators with a copy of your transcript, a resume, and a copy of your application essay. Ask if you should supply them with any other information that would assist them in writing the letters of recommendation. Most graduate schools now request online letters through the online application. You would need to supply your recommender’s email address for this process. Please remember to thank your professors for their letters and to inform them of the outcome of your application.
You are asked if you wish to waive your right of access to the letter of recommendation. The letters are generally given greater validity if you choose to do so.
The weight given to standardized admissions exams varies from program to program and discipline to discipline. For further information on studying for and taking the GRE and other program-specific examinations, please visit our page on Entrance Exams.