For Students, Alumni, and Employers

How to Get Started

Start Early

Earn a Masters, Doctorate, JD, or MD degree. If you want to go right from Bachelors to Masters or Doctorate without a break, you will need to apply at least one year in advance. But it is never too late to go on to graduate school, even if you take a break.

Research Universities

Think about the type of job you want and then think about which degrees would work. Look at education requirements on jobs to see what they ask for. There is not just one degree for each job out there. Plan to apply to 10–15 schools if not more. It is best to start your graduate school search as early as possible.

Review Applications

Visit the universities website to learn more about cost, length of program, application process, and deadlines. Download applications from websites or call and have them sent. This will help you know exactly what will be needed. In the bookstore you can do some research on U.S. News and World Reports Magazine as to detailed statistics on scores upon entrance or ask the schools' admissions counselors. Once you have applications, put them in order by deadlines and mark your schedule to keep track of when things are due.

Take Standardized Tests

Most programs require the GRE, GMAT, LSAT, MCAT, or other tests for entrance. Make sure to find out which test is needed for your program. Some programs will waive these tests if you have a high GPA.

Write Your Essay

It's never too early to write your essay or personal statement. The career center library has books and handouts with samples. Make sure to have a few different people review your essay.

  • Log in to, then go to the Document Library for additional tips and samples.

Meet with an Admission Counselor

Contact colleges and universities and ask if they have information meetings or campus tours. Try to set up a meeting or phone consultation with an admission counselor. This can help your chances of getting in. Also talk to financial aid and career centers to get a feel for what they offer and if they are service-oriented.

Set Up a Placement File for Your Letters of Recommendation

If you are PreMed or PreDental and want to be considered for a committee letter and have the Career Center upload your letters of recommendation, letter writers will need to send letters to us. Letters need to come in confidentially, need to be on letterhead and have an original signature. The salutation on each letter should read Dear Admissions Committee. Complete the appropriate Waiver Form and contact Cynthia Smith at This is a free service. 

You should fill out the appropriate Applicant Summary Form and give a copy to each letter writer.

Applicant Summary & File Waiver Forms
Medical School Applicant Summary Form File Waiver Form
Dental School Applicant Summary Form File Waiver Form

Apply and See Where You Get Accepted

Once you apply and get responses back, you will have a decision to make. This decision on where to go to graduate school should be based on the classes, how long the program lasts, location and campus, and where you feel you will fit in best so you can excel in your program.

For assistance, call (805) 493-3200 or contact Cynthia Smith at