Prepare for Graduate School

Continuing your education after your undergraduate degree can be an excellent way to reach your long-term career goals. The Career Development Center is here to help you decide if graduate school is right for you, as well as provide you with the framework to choose the right program and complete the application process.

Check out the resources below to get started:

When you're ready, schedule an appointment with a Career Counselor to discuss your options and how they align with your career goals.

Stay on Track with your Graduate School Applications

Stay on track with the graduate school search & application process by using our timeline.

Like job hunting, investigating and choosing and applying to graduate schools takes considerable time. Your final decision can have an impact on your future academic success and your career/life achievement later. Review the steps below to help you stay on track! Note: The timeline is based on starting graduate school in a fall semester.



Start your search.

  • Research programs in your area of interest. Include: admission requirements, application process, cost, coursework and faculty members
  • Think about where geographically you want to go to school or if you want an online program.

Second Year


Determine Admissions Requirements.

  • Find out if you need to take an admission test, such as the GRE, LSAT, or MCAT.
  • Choose a study/prep method you want to use.
  • Register for an online prep course at a discounted rate through SUNY Oneonta.
Junior Year


Start your applications.

  • Attend the Graduate and Professional School Fair, typically the last Monday in October.
  • Request letters of recommendation from faculty and supervisors.
  • Take admissions tests. Budget for time to retake the test, if needed.

Senior Year


Collect your application materials.

  • Request official transcripts from all colleges you attended. If you need to send your fall grades, indicate when requesting transcript to send after current term grades are posted.
  • Draft your personal statement and submit it to the Career Development Center for review. Contact the Writing Center to ensure stellar grammar and concise, clear writing.


Submit your applications.

  • Submit your completed applications.
  • Ensure you've paid all application fees.
  • Create a backup plan in the event you decide to postpone graduate school.
Second Year


Celebrate your acceptance.

  • Arrange to visit campuses and meet with faculty in your program. See if the campus and program are a good fit for you.
  • Celebrate when you receive your acceptance letters! Make your final decisions about where you want to study.

Exploring Graduate School Opportunities

Some of the more important factors to investigate are program details, the general nature of the program, faculty, and reputation. Some students also look at admission requirements, competitiveness within a department, on the job training opportunities and placement of graduates. Still, others may be concerned about the size of the institution, geographic location, cost and the availability of financial assistance and housing.

Getting this information does not have to be difficult but will require time and effort. You may want to begin with Peterson's Annual Guide to Graduate Study and other specialized directories. Based on your specific criteria you can narrow down the possibilities and begin looking at college websites.

Other sources for investigating graduate programs include faculty advisors, faculty and others who are alumni(ae) of particular schools, and program representatives who often visit college campuses to recruit students. Of course, you will want to contact the graduate schools of your choice for detailed information and applications. However, you should do some preliminary exploration to avoid receiving information from schools that you would not consider.

If at all possible, you should visit colleges that are most attractive. In addition to seeing physical facilities, living quarters and geographic features, you can make arrangements to talk with students, faculty, advisors and career center personnel.

When you finally make applications, you will want to consider schools in which you believe admission will be difficult, somewhat difficult and not difficult. This strategy combined with your intensive information search will allow you to make the best choice from alternatives available.

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