Preparation Guidelines

General preparation guidelines

Once you have determined that graduate or professional school is right for you, think about how you can start preparing to be a competitive and qualified applicant for the graduate program of your choice.

Some programs are best applied to once you’ve gained some work experience, but many are open to students right out of their undergraduate studies.

Here are a few ways you can prepare for graduate or professional school in your undergraduate years.

Know what coursework or major is required

While many graduate or professional schools will not have preferences for undergraduate majors, some will. Make sure to thoroughly explore the requirements for your intended program. Most professional schools will require students to have completed specific prerequisite coursework prior to applying.

Do your best

When applying, you must demonstrate a strong academic record and do well on an entrance exam. Experience in the field, whether volunteer work, job shadowing, or paid experience, is also very important to help the admissions committee understand your passion for the field.

Make the most of the opportunities available to you

The IUPUI campus is full of resources and opportunities to help you succeed. Take advantage of everything it has to offer and make your application stand out when it’s time to apply for graduate school.

In the classroom

Take classes based not only on requirements for your bachelor’s degree, but also on what you’ll need to know for graduate or professional school.

It’s also a good idea to visit your professors outside of class. Going to office hours helps professors get to know you by name and gives them a chance to mentor you. Professors who know you better as a person will also be more willing to write letters of recommendation for your graduate or professional school applications.

On campus

Participate in a campus clubs. These offer unique opportunities to learn and lead which are not easily replicated after graduation. This also demonstrates commitment to and passion for an issue, cause, or field.

It’s also helpful to become conversant in your field by participating in events and listening to guest speakers who play a role in your future world. This may be a wonderful opportunity to begin networking with experts in your field.

Demonstrate your commitment to service by actively participating in volunteer opportunities. Find an organization, population, or cause that you’re passionate about and get involved!

Get hands-on experience

Participate in undergraduate research. This is an excellent way for you to challenge yourself, build relationships with senior scientists, and add depth to your university experience.

The problem-solving and reasoning skills you develop, as well as an increased understanding of science, will provide a great foundation for further education and are qualities and skills valued by many graduate and professional school admission officers.

Explore careers you are interested in though job shadowing or clinical observation. Learn more about a profession before you invest too much time preparing for a career that may not be right for you.

Study abroad. This allows you to learn or test your foreign language abilities, hone cross-cultural skills, and see the world in a different light. No matter what your future field, expanding your horizons by spending time abroad will help bring you closer to your goals.

And no matter where you go, focus on building relationships. The value of a strong social and professional network is impossible to overestimate. Nurturing new contacts, making your professional and social needs known, and connecting colleagues with the people who can help them succeed—all of these may lead to a successful graduate or professional school application. Learn how to network effectively!