What to expect when applying to Graduate School or Professional Schools/Programs:

Each school will have a different application process and requirements.  Because they can vary so much, it is rather important to read all of the materials carefully to ensure your application is complete, free of errors, and hopefully exactly what the program is looking for!

What are typical application components?

  • Application – These applications can be found on the school’s website. It is highly recommended that you save your progress as you go, but not to submit until you’ve completed all of the fields and had someone look it over if you so wish.
    • Drop by the Career and Advising Center to get these materials reviewed – Locations and Hours
  • Letters of Reference – These are typically needed for academic programs, but various universities also require for admittance (see specific school requirements)
  • Transcripts – Each school typically has their own process and cost for releasing official transcripts. Be sure to consider the timeline of the school getting the documents to you and your timeline for submitting your application materials.  It would be a shame to miss out on an opportunity due to failure to plan ahead.
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV) – Depending on the type of program you are applying to, both or neither of these documents may be required. The Career and Advising Center has resources to guide you through the creation of both resume and CV.
    • Drop by the Career and Advising Center to get these materials reviewed – Locations and Hours
  • Letter of Interest/Personal Statement or Essay Questions – Because schools are so different, these areas are also difficult to predict. You can expect that the school or program will want to know why you are applying with them or why you intend to pursue that future career and/or industry.  Begin brainstorming early and work on finding details that will help you stand out from the other applicants.
  • Application fees – Each application will have an expense associated. Plan accordingly and look into the charges with each type of application.
  • Interview – Frequently, Professional and Graduate programs will require an interview before being accepted.
    • What types of questions might they ask?  Speak with a Career Coach or Career Mentor about what you can possibly expect during these interviews.
    • Care to try a practice (or “mock”) interview before the real thing?  Reach out to a member of the Career Coaching Team and one of them will get a mock interview scheduled.

Types of Degrees:

  • Master’s (MA, MS)
  • Professional (MBA, Med)
  • Doctoral (PhD, PharmD, EdD)

Helpful Links:


Some of the links contained on this page will direct you away from the NDSU Career and Advising Center website. The linked sites are not under the control of the NDSU Career and Advising Center and we are not responsible for the contents of any linked site or any link contained in a linked site. The NDSU Career and Advising Center is providing these links as a convenience and the inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement by the NDSU Career and Advising Center.