Postgraduate school is a conversation that often comes up between undergraduate students.
Common questions may arise like what is grad school? What does it provide? When are the deadlines to apply?
In short, grad school is a higher level of education above a bachelor’s degree. Providing doctoral and master’s degrees, grad schools give students an extra edge in a selected field such as business, law or medicine. It has also become mandatory for some entry-level jobs.
Other majors such as computer science, bilingual education, and engineering also feature master’s programs in select schools.
For those looking into grad school, here are the major requirements and deadlines to watch out for:
Degree and GPA requirement:
- Grad schools require a bachelor’s or an equivalent degree from an international school, such as an honors bachelor’s from the United Kingdom.
- They also typically have a GPA requirement, usually a 3.0 minimum.
Letters of recommendation:
- Three or more letters of recommendation for the application process.
- Students interested in grad schools will need to write a personal essay detailing who they are and why they wish to enter the school.
The standardized tests needed vary from major to major and school to school, but the four most common standardized tests are:
- The GRE is a general exam where it tests reading comprehension, critical thinking, and analytical writing. The GRE also includes specific subject tests you may opt to take, such as biology, chemistry, and English literature.
- The MCAT is specific for medical school, testing topics such as biological systems and psychological behavior.
- The GMAT is for business schools, with topics such as arithmetic algebra and interpreting data using critical thinking.
- Law schools require the LSAT, which tests students’ level of logical reasoning and reading comprehension.
Each school and department have different requirements regarding standardized tests, so consult with each school to know which tests you need to take.
- Application deadlines for grad school are often in December, but they too vary for majors and schools, so make sure you check with your specific school and program to know your deadlines.
As for what grad school actually entails, it might seem like it would be similar work of going to classes and taking quizzes, but it can be much more than that.
Grad schools tend to be extremely specialized and have a greater emphasis on students doing their own research, writing papers, and even getting hands-on experience via internships or presentations at conferences.
However, grad school can be expensive and graduating thousands of dollars in debt may seem like a scary prospect.
The average debt owed by grad school students is $41,000, according to the American Progress.
Grad school is a big commitment, from both a financial and a time perspective. While it can eventually lead to a better career and a higher salary, it comes with its limitations.
While many jobs are requiring a postgraduate from their job candidates, it is not necessary for every job.