How to Apply to Graduate School

Take steps to apply to a graduate business program.

Choosing to pursue a graduate degree is a huge and exciting step for your career, so you must be sure that all of your applications requirements are met. You should have all your documents together in order to be considered. Here's a guide to help you navigate your way toward earning an online business degree:

Examine your grades
The grades you received during your undergraduate studies have an effect on your masters application. If you're still working on your bachelors, you have some measure of control. Aim to get As and Bs in all of your classes and you'll be on a good path. If you've already graduated and did not make the grade, you'll have to work hard in other areas of the application.

Study for and take the GRE
The GRE is a standardized test that helps measure how well you'd perform at the graduate level. Most programs require you to take the test and provide a score on your application. You can visit the GRE website to find testing dates and locations near you. Sign up for a slot (you'll have to pay a fee) and start studying. The test uses information you should have learned during your undergraduate days and you may not have kept up on the information. For example, an English major could have avoided math courses. You can find test guides in stores and online to aid your studies. 

Show up for the GRE early with your state-issued identification. You won't be allowed to take anything else in the room with you. 

Fill out an application
Find the admissions application on your prospective school's website and fill out the information. Most applications allow you to save and leave your progress to come back later, which is helpful if you don't have all the information yet. 

Write a statement of purpose
A statement of purpose is an essay in which you explain why you want to attend graduate school, what your future career goals are and how you'll fit in with the university. Share your drive and passion for your field of study in your writing and be sure it is 100 percent error free. Most schools will dismiss any applications that have a grammar error. Read, edit, reread, reedit, etc. 

Get letters of recommendation
Your chosen school should inform you how many letters of recommendation you need, though three is a good rule of thumb. Ask full tenured professors who know you well to write the letters. You can ask associate professors or administrators, but their word won't hold as much weight (sad, but true). Also be realistic about your expectations. If you didn't do well in a class, don't ask that professor for a recommendation. 

This article is sponsored by Western Governors University, a nonprofit, accredited, online university. WGU offers online bachelor degree programs in business and online MBA programs. To find out more, please visit www.wgu.edu/wisecareers_business.

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