Graduate school applications materials will vary from program to program but some common materials include resume/CV, letters of recommendation, personal statement, test scores, and transcripts. It is important to stay organized in order to stay on top of applications and deadlines. Need help? Make an appointment with a Career Advisor.
Letters of Recommendation
You will need letters of recommendation to include with applications to graduate and professional schools. These letters should be written by professors and supervisors who know you well. It is in your best interest to find recommenders who actually know you and can provide the reader with insight as to who you are as a student, researcher, and person rather than to ask someone who gave you a good grade or knows you on a similarly surface level. You will likely need at least 3 recommendations, so think early and carefully about whom you will ask.
Tips for Getting Strong Recommendations
- Get to know your professors and/or supervisors. Take advantage of office hours. Ask questions. Participate in class.
- Ask each contact if he or she can give a positive recommendation.
- Provide each writer with a resume or list of academic and extracurricular involvements.
- Give ample time. Do not wait until the last minute.
Throughout this process you will be managing a lot of communication and confidential documents. Interfolio is an online credentials management tool to which you can subscribe. You will be able to store all letters, transcripts, etc. with 24/7 access. If you are planning to take time off between W&L and graduate or professional school this tool will allow you to gather your necessary documents while at W&L, maintain confidentiality, and then submit them at the appropriate time.
Your personal statement is a very important part of your graduate and / or professional school application. This should give the reader insight into who you are, why you are interested in a specific program, and what goals you hope to attain. You will need to write, get feedback, and revise, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time.
This list of links should be helpful as you get started:
NOTE: The Career Development Center works with Kaplan to offer programs throughout the academic year. Check our web site, visit our office, and watch Campus Notices to find out about personal statement workshops, free practice tests, and more!