Now that you have decided on which program you would like to apply for, it’s time to get your application ready to submit to colleges. Preparing your overall application can take a few months to a year depending on different factors. Here we will review the general components of an application for admission. Prior to starting your application we recommend that you review the college’s admission requirements page to ensure that your application is complete. Here is a nifty checklist that can guide you through the preparation process! Checklist
Deadlines vary from program to program. So, to ensure that your application is submitted on time, review the deadline page for each department. You can view deadlines on our Program Search page. Make a calendar with any upcoming deadlines. Remember to include standardized testing which can take six months, as well as letters of recommendation, transcripts, and financial aid, which you can apply to even before being accepted to the school.
The Office of Financial Aid at CUNY works hard to ensure that higher education is affordable and accessible to all our students. Even before you apply, we recommend that you file your FAFSA. Funding is usually on a first come, first serve basis. Your FAFSA is the document that allows your college to determine your eligibility for scholarships, grants, loans and work study. The Financing Your Graduate Education page contains much more information about the different types of funding,contact information for each financial aid office, and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
Your program may require you take a standardized test. Make sure you check the requirements. You may have to take one of the following exams. You should take your exams no later than the five or six months before you apply giving you the appropriate amount of time to receive your results and then retake the test if necessary.
When taking your exams, make sure you indicate the schools that you would like the scores to be sent to.
- GRE– The Graduate Record Examinations (usually required for admission into programs in the social sciences, humanities etc.)
- GMAT– The Graduate Management Admission Test (required for admission into business school)
- NYS Teachers Certification – New York State requires candidates in Education programs to take certain tests for admissions.
- LSAT – Law School Admissions Test (required for admission into Law School)
- TOEFL – Test of English as a Foreign Language (required for all international students unless you obtained your bachelor’s degree in an English-speaking country such as the U.K, the Netherlands or some Caribbean countries, please refer to the school admissions website for more information)
The length of time to prepare for the exam will vary depending on the person. When you learn which test your program may require, follow these steps to help you prepare:
- Take a diagnostic test to measure your strengths and weaknesses. This will help you focus on the areas that you need improvement upon and give you an idea of how long you will need to study.
- There are many external resources available to help you prepare for your examination, including apps for your phone, books, and websites. You can also enroll in a preparation course which will vary in price and duration. Choose the one that is best for you.
- Baruch College offers GMAT and GRE Math Test Preparation Courses
Your personal statement can vary depending on which program you are applying to. The application may call for you to answer specific questions or you may be given little direction. This is all to help the program get a sense of who you are as an applicant, your unique abilities, your accomplishments, your past experiences, your personal and career goals and also how you think this particular program will allow you to reach these goals. You want to start writing three months prior to submitting you application. This will allow ample time to ask for critiques and for you to edit your work.
You will need two or more recommenders for your application. Make sure you know who your program expects a recommendations from (your professors, a supervisor, etc). You want to reach out to possible recommenders at least a month before you submit your application to give them adequate time to write your recommendation letter. You should pick someone who you have a professional relationship with and who can genuinely speak to your capabilities to succeed in the program.
Although the G.P.A requirements vary, in general, the minimum G.P.A. to enroll in a graduate program is a 3.0. Some programs also may require you to have taken a certain amount of credits or particular classes in a related field prior to beginning your degree. Make sure you go over the requirements and your qualifications and contact the program advisor if you have any questions. If needed, you may be able to take a non-degree courses to fulfill prerequisite coursework. These courses will not count towards your graduate degree but will help you gain entry into a program.
International Students should pay particular attention to the international students’ page and the school admissions website to make sure that they are adhering to all the instructions and requirements for submitting a transcript from another country.
Your resume is used to give the graduate committee more information of why you would be a good candidate for the program. It should paint a picture of your academic career and any work experience that would enhance your experience in an advanced degree. It should be not be too long (one to two pages) but list any extracurricular activities, research assistant work, honors and awards, work experience, volunteer opportunities, and any other relevant experience.
Some colleges or programs will request that you submit additional essays, writing samples, portfolios, screenplays or short films as part of your application. Please pay attention to the specific program requirements because they are individualized to each program. Check with the program you are applying to for requirement details.
This is an additional opportunity to explain discrepancies or unique situations that may hurt your graduate school application. It is a brief statement that may address a low Standardized test score or grade and explain how/why that this is not an accurate reflection of your abilities. Students must be very careful in adding this section as it is meant to address any questions or hesitations by the admissions professional when reviewing your application.
If you were educated outside of the United States and English is not your first language, you will have to take one of the following exams. Check with your desired campus to confirm which exam is accepted.
- Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
- International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
- Pearson Test of English (PTE)
Find out more about TOEFL requirements.
In addition, your official documents may need to be translated before you apply. You should allow additional time to complete this process. Check with the college you are applying to for specific details.
- Start thinking about your goals and how you can achieve them.
- Earn good grades.
- Build relationships with professors.
- Always meet with your advisers to make sure you are on track with courses.
- Look for opportunities to do research either with a professor or develop your own individual research project.
- Maintain and improve GPA.
- Get to know more professors.
Summer between sophomore and junior years
- Start researching graduate programs.
- Participate in a summer research internship.
- Explore fellowships, grants and other funding providers.
- Participate in a research project.
- Start studying for the GRE and take it.
- Visit campuses and recruiting events like graduate fairs and information sessions.
Summer between junior and senior years
- Remain focused and participate in a summer program or internship.
- Start comparing programs and graduate schools and matching them to your interests.
- Research costs and look for scholarships, grants and learn about the financial aid process.
- Take the GRE
- Begin drafting your statement of purpose and other application essays.
- Finish submitting fellowship and all funding applications.
- Request letters of recommendation by early October.
- Ask professors and anyone with a critical eye to review your statement of purpose.
- Submit your admission and funding applications early.
- If needed take the GRE another time especially if you intend on enrolling in school next fall.