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Graduate & Professional School
Graduate school programs provide continuing education to students who are looking to further their knowledge and skills in a professional field while also advancing their career goals. There are a broad range of advanced degrees to be acquired through the completion of a graduate school program. Graduate school programs confer degrees of Master (e.g., M.A., M.B.A. Ed. M., M.S,), Doctorate (e.g., Ph.D., Ed.D.) as well as professional degrees (e.g., J.D., M.D., D.O., Pharm D.).
Advanced degree programs generally branch off into two degrees types. Professional schools are graduate programs such as dental school, law school, medical school, pharmacy school, and podiatry school, which lead to professional degrees and proficiency in a particular field. Graduate school programs for academic disciplines in the arts and sciences (M.A., Ph.D.) grant graduate degrees and enable students to gain further knowledge in a specific area preparing students to teach, conduct research, or practice within a specific industry or specialization.
The typical graduate program consists of two parts, the first being one year of structured coursework, the second being a year of work towards a thesis or competency in the desired field. Individuals select graduate school programs that may be in-line, or sometimes vastly differ, from their undergraduate programs. Students usually have options of attending school full-time or part-time and prerequisite courses are sometimes required.
Why Graduate School? Questions to ask yourself
Choosing to go to graduate school may seem like a simple decision, but it is valuable to ask some introspective questions before making the choice. Here are some questions to consider:
Why are you considering graduate school?
• Make sure graduate school is a necessary step for your career goals
When should you consider obtaining a graduate degree?
• Examine whether it is most beneficial for you to enter graduate school immediately or delay entering graduate school for work experience and/or saving money
What is the best graduate degree for you?
• Explore your interests, skills, and values to help discern your focus area for graduate study
What is the best graduate school or program for you?
• Research graduate schools in your field of study
• Review the academic curriculums of the graduate school programs
• Read professor biographies of graduate school’s faculty
Can you afford graduate school?
• Research opportunities for financial aid or work study
• Conduct a honest self-assessment of whether you can afford graduate school at the given time
• See scholarship opportunities offered by the National Association of Fellowship Advisors, GraduateCenter.com, and Senior Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies: Temple University
Researching Graduate School
Explore the different graduate school programs in your interest areas
- Petersons.com - Graduate Schools
- Graduate School - Princeton Review
See professional organizations related to your career interests
- Browse Weddle's Association Directory for list of professional organizations
- Research career development/student sections and program accreditation sections.
- It is crucial to investigate the accreditation of a graduate program to ensure it will advance you in your field
Applying to Graduate School
Once you make the decision to attend graduate school, there are several requirements that will be requested by most schools to which you apply.
Graduate schools generally require you to write a personal statement. In a personal statement, you should communicate to the graduate school program your interest in the field of study, reasons for pursuing graduate study in the given field, why you chose their specific school program, and what career or life goals you hope to attain through completing their program.
Here are some things to remember in writing your personal statement:
- Follow any instructions the school gives you about writing the personal statement
- Include an introduction, detailed supporting paragraphs, concrete examples of skills, and a conclusion
- Keep it brief- 1 to 2 pages or specified word limit
- Have your document reviewed by others: Career Center, Writing Center, Faculty
- For more on personal statements: Personal Statement Tutorial
Graduate schools may also require additional short essays that help admissions boards assess whether to admit students into their program. Below are some tips when writing these essays:
- Follow all instructions given for essay
- Focus on work related to field of interest and not personal life
- Provide examples of your experience that show you would be a good student, researcher, and/or teacher (research and teaching experiences)
- Expound on future career goals and research interests
Letter of Recommendation
Graduate schools may ask for several academic and/or professional references to advocate for your candidacy. Below are some tips:
- Choose teachers and supervisors who can say the most and best about you
- Let teachers and supervisors know as early as possible that you need a letter of recommendation
- Allow teachers and supervisors to see your personal statement, resume, and information about the program to which you are applying, as this will enable them to best tailor recommendation to the expectations of the program
Graduate Admission Tests
Most graduate and professional schools require some type of graduate admission test. It is important to research the graduate school’s requirements to see if the school requires a graduate admission test, and if so, what type of test. Below are some of the graduate admissions tests required for graduate and professional schools:
- Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
- Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT)
- Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)
- Law School Admission Test (LSAT)
The Basics of the GRE
The GRE or graduate record exam is an entrance exam used by most schools to serve as a requirement for admission into a selected program. It consists of 3 sections, Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. Verbal Reasoning and Analytical Reasoning sections are scored on a scale between 130 to 170. The analytical Writing section is scored on a scale from 0 to 6 points. Something to note, the GRE is offered as a general test, but also has several subject tests, which some schools require you take in addition to the general test.
The GRE is exclusively administered through the computer (CBT-Computer Based Test), which means you need to set up an appointment with a testing center to take it. The GRE test questions are scored by adapting to your skill level. For example it will ask you an average level question, if you get it right, the next question will be harder, if you get it wrong, then the next question will be easier.
Submitting Official Transcripts
Graduate schools will request your undergraduate transcripts. Plan ahead to submit your transcripts because sending these documents takes time.
- See the Office of the Registrar- Transcript Services for submitting transcripts from Temple University
Graduate schools will request your resume. This document shows the graduate committee the experiences you have acquired that make you a good fit for the program. Here are some tips for your graduate school resume:
- Be sure to cite relevant coursework, awards, honors, research, teaching opportunities, shadowing opportunities, clinical work, and other work experiences
- Also, highlight any other academic projects, coursework, or skills that are related to the program
- Have the resume reviewed by a professor, friends, family, and the Career Center
Once a graduate school has received your application materials, they may request of you a phone or in-person interview. Here are some ways to prepare for your interview:
- Research the graduate school- Learn about the specific program and be able to ask informed questions about the graduate school
- Review your resume and personal statement- Consider experiences, research, and career goals that you would want to highlight in the interview. Many times, interviewers will ask questions about your past experiences as they relate to the graduate program and your career goals
- Seek knowledge about your field- Interviewers may ask questions about the given field to test your current knowledge of the subject matter. Speak to current professors about relevant resources and conduct personal research about matters pertaining to your area of interest
The MBA or Masters of Business Administration is a degree aimed at preparing you to be a senior level manager or leader. There are more than 700 MBA programs in the world. As graduate management degrees, the emphasis is put on the understanding of how to utilize resources, teamwork, finances, and over-all business operations. There are a number of career paths for MBA graduates, including accounting, finance, human resource management, consulting, information systems, manufacturing, marketing, operations management, small business, government, education, health care, and not-for-profit. So you can see the opportunities are endless.
The reason most individuals pursue an MBA degree is because in order to be a good manager, you need to know not only the technical side of your organization, but more importantly you need to be able to organize the work of others, and make decisions that affect the major aspects of a business.
Academically, almost any undergraduate major prepares you overall for pursuit of an MBA. Some points that can make you more appealing to an admissions board include knowing your numbers, this means having a solid foundation in math and economics. Also, you will benefit from knowing, on some level, another language. Also, your undergraduate GPA is important, as well as your GMAT score.
Experientially, an average of 4 years of work experience in a business setting, gaining some real experience can make your MBA degree more worthwhile developmentally.
Also, a key note: those wishing to get into an MBA program that do not have such an extensive work history need to have superb academic credentials and an extensive record of extracurricular activities as well as clearly defined career goals.
The graduate management admission test, or GMAT is the admissions test associated with gaining admission to an MBA program. It can help gauge your academic success during your first year of graduate school. The GMAT consists of 3 sections, two of which are multiple choice (math and verbal), with the third being an analytical section. Your scores are important, but remember, each school weighs different aspects of the application differently.
More information on the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT)
There are 125 schools in this country that offer a M.D. degree, and 19 that offer a D.O. degree. This suggests that competition is tough. Each year over 50,000 students apply for admission into these schools. So if that isn’t enough competition for you consider the test that is used for admission is only offered two times a year! With that being said there are certain advantages that being prepared can give you to help push you to the top of the list.
Medical School Qualifications:
Medical schools all look at applicants differently; they put different weight on different aspects according to what the admissions panel sees as being most needed. Some characteristics are identified below.
- A 3.5 cumulative G.P.A.
- Average of 10’s on the MCAT subsections
- Strong Interpersonal Skills
- Clinical and Research Experience
- Clearly defined motivation for a career in medicine
- Considerable amount of Campus and Community Service
- Outstanding Letters of Recommendations from individual faculty, and college or university pre-med committee’s
- Experienced 1 year of BCPM’s namely (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Organic Chemistry)
These characteristics were compiled from Mark A. Notesine, Ph.D., the Assistant Dean and Director of Admissions at Ohio State University’s College of Medicine and Public Health.
The Application Process for Medical School
For individuals pursuing medical school, these prospective students are required to apply to a central website called the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS). This server is the central location for first-year medical students attending U.S. medical schools to submit their application materials.
The MCAT, or the Medical College Admissions Test, is specifically designed to test those individuals wishing to enter a medically related field, in their scientific knowledge of biology, physics, organic and inorganic chemistry, problem solving, critical thinking, and writing skills. It tests the user in four categories, Physical sciences, Verbal Reasoning, a Writing sample, and Biological Sciences. Each section receives a raw score which is converted into a scaled score ranging from 1 (lowest) to 15 (highest). Because of its difficulty, most schools will not penalize a student for repeating an exam.
More information on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)
Temple Resources: Medical School and Other Professional Health Studies
Applications to medical school programs as well as other programs in the professional health studies often have additional requirements and procedures. Prospective Temple students and alumni are encouraged to visit the Office of Pre-Professional Health Studies for information and advising concerning graduate school in the professional health studies. This office provides advising, prerequisite course information, and volunteer and research opportunities to help prospective students best prepare for graduate school in the professional health studies.
Admission into law school can be a difficult task. Chances are if you are thinking of acquiring an education in law and all it has to offer, you have a lot of questions. Hopefully this section will target key areas of uncertainty to assist you in making a proper choice.
The Application Process
The law school application process consists of many different tasks that you will need to complete in order to successfully be considered for application. Listed below is a step by step guide to help you identify what you need to do.
The Law School Admissions Test is a standardized test that lasts the better part of a half day and it is used as one part of the application process for students wishing to attend any one of the 201 law schools in the country. It measures three distinct areas of an applicant, their verbal skills, reading skills, and reasoning skills. Offered quarterly throughout the year, students have ample opportunities to sign up for it.
More information on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT)
The first step towards applying to law school includes selecting about 5 to 6 schools to apply to. This means you will need to do some research on which schools you want to go to. Note, most schools have a rolling admissions policy, and offer fee waivers for the application costs, so check that out! Completing the research part needs to take place at least a year and a half before graduation. Key information you should consider includes, all raw information (coursework, admission policies, key faculty, costs, timeline and outcomes), their location, the median LSAT score and GPA of students who have been accepted into the program.
Second, make a list of schools that interest categorized on three levels.
- Level one are your Reach Schools, these schools consist of a LSAT score, and a GPA that are substantially above yours.
- Level two are the High Probability Schools, these schools have LSAT and GPA scores nearly above or below yours.
- Level three are the Safety Schools , these schools have LSAT and GPA scores way below yours, most certainly allowing you easy admission.
Temple Resources: Law School
Temple provides several ways for prospective law students to prepare for law school. The Temple Law Scholars Program allows students to gain provisional admission into Temple University’s Beasley School of Law while completing their undergraduate studies. Students in the program gain opportunities to seek legal internships, participate in Beasley’s School of Law Trial Advocacy Program, and other unique educational experiences. Prospective students should visit the Vice Provost of Undergraduate Studies for more information on the Temple Law Scholars Program.
Students can also reach out to the Pre-Law Society and faculty advisor Dr. Paul Crowe in preparation for law school. The Pre-Law Society provides opportunities for students of all majors interested in Law to cultivate the skills necessary to be accepted into law school and be successful in the law profession. Please visit the website of the Pre-Law Society for more information on how to join.