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Getting Into the Best Grad School

Many people wait until their senior year of college to start thinking about what they need to do in order to get into the best grad school. However, making sure that you get into the best grad school is a process that starts as soon as you begin your undergraduate degree program. Tara Kuther, Ph.D., with About.com offers this advice on how to improve your chances of getting into the best graduate school:

  • Get to know your professors.
  • Get involved in research with a professor. If it goes well, you might present a paper at a conference or even get a journal article out of it. Research experience, presentations, and publications are the keys to graduate school.
  • Excel in your courses.
  • Take plenty of science and math, but also liberal arts courses (English, writing, communications) to develop a well-rounded background and demonstrate your oral and written communication skills.
  • Take a GRE prep course to prepare for the Graduate Record Exam.
  • Volunteer and participate in campus organizations that relate to your discipline (e.g., math club if you're a student, or volunteer at a social service agency if you're a psychology or social work major).
  • Tailor your applications to particular programs. In other words, research your programs to determine your "fit" to each. Each application should demonstrate that you're an excellent fit to each program in terms of your interests, career goals, and abilities.

Kuther also suggests that undergraduate students should keep their career goals in mind throughout their time in college. If you want to be a professor, then you're going to need to have publications. These students should start publishing as early as possible in order to improve their chances of getting into the best grad school as well as getting the job they really want.


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