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Loyola University Chicago

Career Development Center

Graduate Education Application Process

Standardized Test Scores
Contact your top schools and request application materials. Review each application thoroughly to determine deadlines, test requirements and the supporting documentation necessary to complete the application process. Graduate school applications will often require the following:

Most graduate and professional programs require scores from selected exams. Be aware of how often the exams are administered, as well as the deadlines by which scores must be submitted with your applications. The most common exams are listed below.

Information about these exams is available in the Career Center resource library, university libraries, academic advising areas of the related disciplines or online. (See the graduate school section of the Career Development Center's resources page.) Registration information can be obtained at the Career Development Center. You may also directly contact the related professional associations, accrediting agencies or testing services.

Financing Your Graduate Education 
Reviewing available financial aid information and managing all related paperwork in order to finance your graduate education is another critical component of the application process. Most graduate and professional programs offer some aid; however, the types of assistance and the amounts vary widely. Be sure to investigate scholarship and fellowship opportunities sponsored by the universities to which you are applying as well as external agencies and associations. Many institutions also make available a number of graduate assistantships. Assistantships not only provide graduate students with funding but also meet the university's needs for teaching, research and other staffing needs. You may also need to consider loans as a source to meet graduate school costs.

Personal Statement/Essay(s)
Most graduate and professional programs require that you write a personal statement. A personal statement really has two purposes. First, it is an opportunity for you to express your personality, your values, your hopes and goals. It is your one chance to escape the rigid format of the application and allow the admissions committee to know the "real you" from a life/career planning perspective. The second purpose is to provide the committee with an indication of your goal-directedness, your sense of self-efficacy, and "career fit" with the program. This is not a "write-it-the-night-before" task. As a matter of fact, it is a good idea to write your essay during the summer between junior and senior years, when you are likely to have more time for reflection, creativity and revision. Our career advisers are happy to review your personal statement for clarity and content.

Letters of Recommendation
Letters of recommendation are also an important part of your application to any graduate program. You should follow each program’s guidelines carefully regarding the number of recommendations you seek, from whom you seek them, and how they are delivered to the schools.

A strong letter of recommendation for graduate school is one written by a professor who knows you personally and knows your work – they will be able to be more detailed in their recommendations regarding your research goals and/or career aspirations. Employers, internship supervisors, or anyone else who can speak to your career aspirations and provide specific examples of your strengths may also be an appropriate recommender. Never assume that an individual will write you a letter; ask if the potential reference is willing and has time to write a strong recommendation letter for you. Give anyone who may be hesitant an option to decline your offer – it is better to seek a different letter from someone else who will speak highly of you than to risk a less-than-glowing reference.

After someone has agreed to provide you with a letter of recommendation, do everything you can to make the process easy for him or her.

Finally, don’t chance losing track of potential references! Try to get letters when you have finished your last class with a particular faculty member, or immediately after you have completed your program, practicing teaching, internship or employment.

Official Transcript(s)
Be sure to obtain official transcripts from all institutions of higher education where you have taken classes. Leave appropriate time for these transcripts to be sent. For information on obtaining your official Loyola transcript, visit the Department of Registration and Records website.

Application Fee
Application fees for graduate programs can range from $50 to $150. Some institutions will waive the fee for applications submitted online, or in the case of demonstrated financial need.


Career Development Center · Sullivan Center for Student Services · 6339 N. Sheridan Rd., Chicago, IL 60660
Mailing Address: 1032 W. Sheridan Road, Chicago, IL 60660
Phone: 773.508.7716 · E-mail: CareerCenter@luc.edu

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