Planning and Preparing for Graduate and Professional School

We know that exploring graduate school options can feel overwhelming. The good news is that there are numerous resources and support available across the university to help you make this important decision.

Is Graduate School the Right Path for me?

Ask yourself the following questions to help determine if graduate or professional study is an appropriate next step for you.

  • Am I willing to put in the time and effort demanded of graduate study?
  • What is my interest level in this field?
  • Am I certain I need an advanced degree to begin my career?

General Graduate School Preparation Tips

Know Your “Why”

Start by asking yourself, ‘why do I want this degree?’ Doing so provides direction on what you would like to achieve with a graduate or professional degree. In addition, knowing your “why” can help target your research and networking opportunities.

Know the Program

Research the program and understand the requirements. Consider factors such as size, location, financial aid, and reputation. You want a program that will meet your needs and interests.

Gather All Documentation

Be sure to have all post-secondary transcripts before applying to graduate school. Note that it may take several weeks to receive the transcripts, so always request them in advance.

Choose Strong References

You should have strong letters of recommendation from referees who know your skills and experiences and can communicate your ability to succeed as a graduate student. Never ask friends or family to serve as a reference! Always reach out to your references well in advance.

Complete Your Application

Unfortunately, it is easy to miss components of the application. Double-check that all information is fully completed. An incomplete application will almost always lead to a rejection letter. It is best to complete the application at least one week prior to the deadline.

Health Professions Timelines

The resources below provide a general timeline and guidance on health profession applications that many College of Education students are interested in. This list is not exclusive nor all-encompassing!

  • Physical Therapy School

    Before Applying

    • Meet with your academic advisor to discuss your degree plan. You must complete specific prerequisite undergraduate and exceed minimum GPA requirements to be successful.
    • Establish professional contacts such as professors, staff members, employment supervisors, and physical therapists.
    • Research physical therapy programs.
    • Get involved and/or strengthen involvement in extracurricular activities. Consider joining a student organization such as the Texas Pre-Physical Therapy Society and Kinesiology Club.
    • Prepare for and take the GRE if needed.
    • Order official transcripts from all colleges and universities that you have attended.
    • Begin asking your professional contacts for a strong letter of recommendation.

    The Application Cycle

    • Be aware of deadlines for each PT program that you would like to apply to. Many schools have deadlines in late Fall or early Spring.
    • Complete and submit applications for PT programs. If you have a question that is not found in their instructions, ask the school directly.
    • Have letters of recommendation sent to individual schools. Be sure to check individual schools for specific criteria. For example, some may ask that at least one reference be from a current professor or current supervisor.
    • Continue to work, volunteer, and participate in professional development opportunities.

    Last stages of the Application Cycle

    • Many PT programs interview candidates. If you will be interviewed, schedule a mock interview with your Career Engagement Coordinator and/or the Health Professions Office to brush up on your interviewing skills.
    • Admissions decision processes and timelines often vary between programs. When all interviews are completed, schools will inform applicants of their admission status.
  • Medical School

    Before Applying

    • Meet with your academic advisor to discuss your degree plan. You must complete specific prerequisite undergraduate coursework and exceed minimum GPA requirements to be successful.
    • Establish professional contacts such as professors, staff members, employment supervisors, and medical professionals in your community.
    • Get involved and/or strengthen involvement in extracurricular activities. Consider joining a student organization such as Women in Medicine.
    • Register for an Interfolio Dossier.
    • Prepare for the MCAT Exam and take it when you are ready.
    • Order official transcripts from all colleges and universities that you have attended.
    • Compile a list of experiences that you would like to highlight. Include details such as dates, honors, and specific tasks that you completed.
    • Begin drafting your personal statement and any optional essays. Remember that your Career Engagement Coordinator and/or the Health Professions office is available to review your drafts and provide feedback.
    • Purchase Medical School Admissions Requirements guide online at www.aamc.org. Click on “Publications.”
    • Continue to research programs and be aware of school-specific requirements. Doing so will help you determine where to apply.

    The Application Cycle

    • Applications will likely open around May 1st.
    • Read all application instructions. Create a checklist to help you keep track of your progress and deadlines.
    • Submit when your application is complete and you feel confident that you have done your best. This should also include your Spring grades. Submitting earlier is better than waiting until the deadline approaches.

    Last Stages of the Application Cycle

    • Schedule an interview preparation appointment with your Career Engagement Coordinator and/or the Health Professions Office. Interviews typically begin in early August.
    • Admissions decision processes and timelines often vary between programs. When all interviews are completed, schools will inform applicants of their admission status.
  • Dental School

    Before Applying

    • Meet with your academic advisor to discuss your degree plan. You must complete specific prerequisite undergraduate coursework and exceed minimum GPA requirements to be successful.
    • Establish professional contacts such as professors, staff members, employment supervisors, and dental professionals in your community.
    • Get involved and/or strengthen involvement in extracurricular activities. Consider joining a student organization such as the Pre-Dental Society.  
    • Register for an Interfolio Dossier.
    • Prepare for the DAT and take the exam when you are ready. You are strongly encouraged to take the exam in March or April and NO later than May 31st.
    • Order official transcripts from all colleges and universities that you have attended.
    • Compile a list of experiences that you would like to highlight. Include details such as dates, honors, and specific tasks that you completed.
    • Begin drafting your personal statement and optional essays. Remember that your Career Engagement Coordinator and/or Health Professions Office is available to review your drafts and provide feedback.
    • Purchase ADEA Online Dental Explorer at www.access.adea.org. Click on “ADEA Store”
    • Continue to research programs and be aware of school-specific requirements. Doing so will help you determine where to apply.

    The Application Cycle

    • Applications will likely open around May 1st.
    • Read all application instructions. Create a checklist to help you keep track of your progress and deadlines.
    • Submit when your application is complete and you feel confident that you have done your best; this should also include your Spring grades. Submitting earlier is better than waiting until the deadline approaches.

    Last Stages of the Application Cycle

    • Schedule an interview preparation appointment with your Career Engagement Coordinator and/or the Health Professions Office. Interviews typically begin in early August.
    • Admissions decision processes and timelines often vary between programs. When all interviews are completed, schools will inform applicants of their admission status.
  • Occupational Therapy

    Before Applying

    • Meet with your academic advisor to discuss your degree plan. You must complete specific prerequisite undergraduate coursework and maintain a minimum GPA to be successful.
    • Establish professional contacts such as professors, staff members, employment supervisors, and occupational therapists in your community.
    • Get involved and/or strengthen involvement in extracurricular activities. Consider joining a student organization such as the Kinesiology Club
    • Register for an Interfolio Dossier.
    • Prepare for and take the GRE when you are ready.
    • Order official transcripts from all colleges and universities that you have attended.
    • Compile a list of experiences that you would like to highlight; include details such as dates, honors, and specific tasks that you completed.
    • Begin drafting your personal statement and optional essays. Remember that your Career Engagement Coordinator and/or Health Professions Office is available to review your drafts and provide feedback.
    • Continue to research programs and be aware of school-specific requirements. Doing so will help you determine where to apply.

    The Application Cycle

    • Be aware of deadlines for each OT program that you would like to apply to. Many schools have deadlines in late Fall or early Spring.
    • Fill out and submit applications for OT programs. If you have a question that is not found in their instructions, ask the school directly.
    • Have letters of recommendation sent to individual schools. Be sure to check individual schools for specific criteria. For example, some may ask that at least one reference be from a current professor or current supervisor.
    • Continue to work, volunteer, and participate in professional development opportunities.

    Last Stages of the Application Cycle

    • Many OT programs interview candidates. If you will be interviewed, schedule a mock interview with your Career Engagement Coordinator and/or the Health Professions Office to brush up on your interviewing skills.
    • Admissions decision processes and timelines often vary between programs. When all interviews are completed, schools will inform applicants of their admission status.

College of Education Graduate Programs

Are you interested in learning skills and theories that lead to positive change in education, policy, and public health? If so, explore graduate degrees from the College of Education. The College of Education offers master, doctoral, and certification programs. Check out the list below to learn more about graduate programs within each department.

Law School Preparation

The College of Liberal Arts Career Services offers law school admissions coaching to help students determine if law school is the right choice for them, research law school, and prepare application materials. This service is available to all majors.

If you would like to chat about your options, please schedule an appointment with your Career Engagement Coordinator.