General Considerations

Recommended Steps for Planning for Graduate and Professional School

  1. Plan Ahead.  You can create a path to graduate or professional school that is uniquely your own and allows you to explore opportunities at Stanford.  Consult with UAR Advisors to ensure that you are aware of your options, the benefits and costs, curricular requirements, extracurricular research and exploration, and timelines.
  2. Consult people in the field and in programs that interest you. Talk with faculty, graduate or professional students and postdoctoral students in your future field or profession. School websites often list student names and contact information. In most departments, undergraduate advising has a list of graduate students who are willing to answer questions about graduate school.
  3. Cultivate and maintain faculty relationships. Faculty members are the best conduit of information about specific programs. They also write the letters of recommendation that inform schools about you. The best letters result from relationships developed over time from shared interests.
  4. Participate in research and/or Honors in your field. Undertaking Honors projects in the humanities, sciences, engineering or a senior project in the arts, provides exposure to the graduate experience. Projects can include close work with faculty and awareness of new research and methods in your field.
  5. Participate in an internship or shadowing programs if you are interested in the health professions, law, business, or education.
  6. Avoid ranking services. Match your interests to faculty interests or school features instead. Rankings can’t convey which school is right for you.
  7. Consider funding options. Consult with UAR Advisors for information on how to pay for graduate or professional school.
  8. Create a testing schedule. Develop your own study plan based on your experience with standardized tests and familiarity with required curriculum. You might consider commercial test preparation courses or study on your own depending on circumstances. Since testing requirements can vary, you should consult the guidelines for each school and fellowship competition.
  9. Use the resources available to you through Undergraduate Advising and Research. UAR offers a variety of resources specially designed to help you plan for graduate and professional School. Visit Undergraduate Advising and Research in Sweet Hall or explore the online resources.

See Also