Graduate School Information
Many of our graduates continue their education by attending graduate school. If that fits your plan, CDC career advisors can help you research, apply, and prepare for your admissions interview.
Some Things to Think About....
- What are the typical admission requirements to graduate school?
- What information do I have to send with my application to graduate school?
- Do I have to take any tests before applying to graduate school?
- Best Graduate Schools or Best Online Graduate Schools
- GRE Exam
- GMAT Exam
- LSAT Exam
- MCAT Exam
- How can I finance Graduate School?
- Can I receive information AU's Graduate Programs?
- GRAD Magazine
- Graduate School Guide
- Law School Admission Council (LSAC)
- Free Online MCAT Practice Tests
To be accepted into a graduate program, you'll need to have:
- A Bachelor's Degree from an accredited institution of higher education.
- A minimum-level overall G.P.A. (normally ranging from 2.75 and up on a 4.0 scale), within the last two years of undergraduate study
- Preparation or pre-requisite coursework (with an acceptable GPA) in the proposed field of study.
- Experience which is relevant to the proposed field of study. For example, an internship or summer work experience.
- An Interview with faculty or staff from the relevant graduate school
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To apply to graduate school, you'll need to send certain information along with your application:
- Admissions test scores - GRE, MAT, GMAT, LSAT, MCAT
- Undergraduate transcripts
- Letters of recommendation
- A written personal statement
Some schools have special admission requirements, such as a review of work samples or your portfolio
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What are Graduate Entrance Exams and how are they administered?
Most graduate schools require a standardized test score as part of the application procedure. These tests are designed to measure general skills and knowledge over a long period of time. Before you take any graduate school test, be sure to verify which test your school or program requires.
The Educational Testing Service, which administers the GRE and the GMAT, is gradually phasing out its paper-based testing and has moved to computer-based testing. The advantage to the computer-based testing is convenience (year-round testing), quicker turnaround of scores (see scores immediately after the exam and before deciding where to send them), and schools receive them more quickly (10-15 days after testing). ETS says that scores between paper-based and computer-based tests are comparable. Testing time also is shorter because as you answer each question, CBT analyzes your answers and makes sure that successive questions are right for you. This avoids wasting time answering questions that are too difficult or too easy. Because of this system, you cannot skip a question or backtrack to change and answer.
The LSAT, MCAT, and GRE Subject tests are still paper-based.
Graduate Test Descriptions
GRE (Graduate Record Exam) The Graduate Record Exam is the most widely used graduate school exam. The GRE General Test measures verbal, quantitative, and analytical abilities that are important for academic achievement. GRE Subject Tests sometimes are required and these measure achievement in a particular subject area and assume an undergraduate major or extensive background in that discipline. A GRE Writing Assessment is also offered. This test is separate from the GRE General and Subject test, and was added to the lineup because writing and thinking are deemed essential for success in many graduate programs.
The General Test is seven parts and evaluates you on verbal, quantitative, and analytical abilities as they measure your potential success on a graduate level. The 14-part Subject Test is designed to measure your knowledge of subject matter related to a specific field. Both tests are scored on a 200- to 990-point Scale. The Writing Assessment is designed to measure your thinking and writing skills.
GMAT (Graduate Management Aptitude Test) The GMAT measures skills that are essential to success in graduate schools of management. Over 1,500 graduate management schools require the GMAT for admission. This skill set includes general verbal, mathematical and analytical writing skills. The test taker does not require any specific knowledge of business or of other specific content areas. There are nine timed sections and two 30-minute essays to write.
LSAT (Law School Admissions Test) The LSAT measures skills that are considered essential for success in law school. This skill set includes: the reading and comprehension of complex text with accuracy and insight; the organization and management of information and the ability to draw reasonable inference from it; the ability to reason critically; and the analysis and evaluation of the reasoning and argument of others.
MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test) The MCAT is designed to assess whether you possess the foundation upon which to build a successful medical career. The test is made up of four timed sections. Though you are tested on a basic foundation of knowledge, the tests focus is on your higher-order thinking skills such as analytical reasoning, abstract thinking and problem solving. These critical thinking skills are essential for success in medical school.
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How can I finance graduate school?
The amount of funding you can receive for graduate school depends upon the type of degree, the institution, your financial need, academic merit, and persistence in seeking aid. Many students in the sciences attend graduate school at little cost because of the amount of grant money and number of research and teaching assistantships available. Those attending law and medical school have fewer options and generally owe a substantial amount in loans.
Because there is so much variance, this page is designed to give you a quick overview of some of the most common terms you will encounter and provide a bibliography of sources for you to consult. Then, consult the financial aid offices and departments of the schools you plan to learn what to expect.
Please note: It is best to avoid the "scholarship finder services". The information provided is often the same you could get for free with minimal effort. The World Wide Web is a tremendous source of information on fellowships and scholarships, so look at these websites:
Five Types of Financial Aid:
Loans represent more than half of all financial aid. The federal loan programs such as Direct and Perkins provide low interest funding based on need. Some loans do not need to be repaid until after graduation.
Scholarships, Fellowships, Grants are given by the federal government, state, school, and department or outside sources. They can be based on need or merit. Consider professional organizations in your field of work when seeking scholarship money.
Teaching Assistantships are good practice for graduate students interested in teaching or becoming faculty. They involve teaching an undergraduate class or lab at the University. Teaching Assistantships can take away 20-30 hours a week from research.
Research Assistantships are a good way to explore a field and develop laboratory or other research techniques. A research assistantship requires you to perform research duties for a faculty advisor. Although the research could be unrelated to your future, sometimes the research gives you the opportunity to develop a thesis topic.
Work-Study might be available to some graduate students if they meet the requirements. However, typically this type of aid is reserved for undergraduate students.
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