Decide if Graduate School is Right for You
Schedule an appointment with a Career Counselor for personalized help through the decision-making and application process.
Graduate School Decision Making Guide [pdf] offers great advice about how to make this important decision and tells you about the application process
Learn about Programs
Connect with faculty in your academic field to find out about programs that might be a good fit for your interests and goals.
Prepare for the Exam
- Graduate Record Exam (GRE): Most widely used by graduate programs
- Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): For international students
- Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT): For MBA programs
- GRE Fee Reduction Program: For individuals who can demonstrate financial need, are unemployed, part of underrepresented groups and low-income and/or first-generation college students
Applications: The Personal Statement
This is an integral part of the application and criteria for selection. Your personal statement is about the only part of your application that you can positively affect at the time you are applying (your courses, your GPA, test scores and even your recommenders' opinions are pretty well set).
- Do multiple drafts--take the time to do it well
- Be open to feedback and ask multiple people to read it.
- Be YOU! Focus on why you are applying to this specific program and why they should admit you. Graduate programs aren't seeking "cookie cutter" candidates - they are looking for unique skills, qualities and experiences you will bring to the program. Be concise, clear, and compelling. Make sure that you demonstrate you've carefully considered graduate study and how it will help you accomplish your long-term goals. Sample Personal Statements
- Our Graduate School Decision Making Guide [pdf]: Information about funding sources
- Swarthmore College Office of Fellowships & Prizes
- Foundation Grants to Individuals: Information about scholarships, grants, fellowships and other support. Contact Career Services for login info.
- Cornell University Fellowship Database: Comprehensive database of various sources of funding for graduate programs
- US Federal Student Aid and FAFSA Application