Admissions testing and application materials

Most graduate schools have similar application requirements. It’s important that you always check the specific requirements for the programs to which you’re applying.

Standardized Testing

General Record Exam (GRE) – The GRE is offered locally on an ongoing basis throughout the year and is required for most graduate schools.

GRE Subject Test – There are seven different GRE subject tests offered once in September, October and April. Not all programs in the following areas require a subject test, but many may be required or recommended by the department you’re applying to:

  • Biochemistry, cell and molecular biology
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Literature in English
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Psychology

Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) – GMAT’s are offered weekly and are for students looking to pursue a graduate degree in business.

Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) – This exam is one of the many requirements for acceptance into medical school. Learn more about additional medical school requirements.

Law School Admission Test (LSAT)– This exam is a requirement for students considering law school. Learn more about law school requirements.

The score you receive on these exams can have a big impact on whether or not you’re accepted into a program. This is why it is important to make sure you are adequately prepared for the exam you are taking. In addition to traditional books, the following resources can provide additional help in your exam prep:


Letter of recommendation requirements can vary from school to school. It’s a good idea to review any guidelines posted on the website of the program you’re applying to before contacting your references. You can also set up an online account through Interfolio to store your letters of recommendation.


Be sure to check your transcript for accuracy before submitting it. Information about requesting transcripts can be found on the Registrar’s transcript page.

Telling your story as an applicant

Personal Statements, Statements of Purpose, and Essays

In general, a personal statement is a more comprehensive essay about yourself and how your qualifications align with the program or field that interests you. A statement of purpose is usually more focused on the specific program. Some general tips:

  • Be sure to answer questions clearly
  • Highlight your main qualifications for the program
  • Inform the reader why you’re unique; share your story, your experience or special qualifications
  • Briefly state what you know about the field. Remember: This is a personal statement, not an academic paper
  • Let the reader know why the program appeals to you and what criteria you used in your application process
  • Your statement should stand alone, but also complement the rest of your application
  • Have a writing tutor, faculty member, career advisor, or someone your trust review your statement while still maintaining your voice
  • Proof your document carefully to ensure that it is well-written and free of errors

If you’re asked to provide a statement of purpose, do your research on that specific program. You may want to explore individual courses, the program focus, research opportunities, faculty expertise, structure of the program (internship, field experience, etc.), location, or other factors that can help you to determine your fit for that program and that program’s fit for you. There may be aspects of your application that you feel deserve, or need, an explanation. If this isn’t included in your other statements, you may opt to include an addendum. Addendums should be as brief and to the point as possible.


Not all graduate programs require interviews, but for those that do the interview process is a critical step in the overall application process. Review the Graduate School PDF guide either on your own or with a career advisor to help make sure you’re prepared. We also suggest doing a mock interview, either with a friend, family member, WSAP speaking tutor or one of our career advisors.