Top-Five Tips to Perfect Your Graduate School Application

So you’ve decided to apply for graduate school? Here are five tips to ensure your app stands out:

  1. Ace your personal statement – Frame your journey and share your vision of where you’ve been and where you’re headed. Don’t reuse personal statements: tailor each one to the program you’re applying for.

  2. Choose references who know you best – It’s more valuable to share a recommendation from someone with a modest title who knows your skills than someone with a grander title who can’t speak about your unique value.

  3. Show your engagement with the subject matter – While schools often seek a balance between academic performance and professional experience, the overall objective of an application is for you to demonstrate your passion for the subject matter. Think beyond paid work and include relevant internships, professional association memberships, and volunteer work.

  4. Don’t overvalue the GRE or GMAT – Although some programs look for students who perform well academically, they do not judge one’s accomplishments solely through standardized testing scores. Your personal statement, work experience, resume, and recommendations often carry much more weight.

  5. Make a personal connection – Consider reaching out to a faculty member to get information on the courses they teach while demonstrating your passion for the program.

Learn more about the School of Professional Studies at Columbia University.