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Applying to Professional Schools

Applying to a graduate program or professional school is an involved process that takes a great deal of time and can be costly. You need to be well informed and organized. It is your responsibility to make sure that all your application materials reach the program well before the application deadline. The best thing you can do for your application is to apply early.  Pre-Professional Advising will help you through the process, but you should learn as much about the application process as possible.

Application Overview

Many schools now use a centralized application service (see below) where you can submit all your materials, while others require direct application to that school. Always consult the school’s website for the most accurate information.

Application Deadlines

Know the deadlines for your particular program, which are typically in the fall semester. Programs will often accept applications up to the deadline, but they are often reviewing applications, interviewing, and accepting students months before that deadline. Early application is key!

Calculating GPA

Many application services require students to enter all courses taken and the grade received, including repeated courses. This can mean that your Purdue overall GPA is not the GPA they will use.

Application Materials

Here are some common materials you may need to submit:

  • Official copies of all transcripts (from any college or university you took coursework for a grade)
  • GPA (including courses at current institution and any other college coursework)
  • Aptitude test score
  • Writing sample (for law schools)
  • Letters of recommendation/evaluation
  • Personal statement
  • Possible supplementary information
  • Significant financial requirement

Application Services

These common application services allow you to enter information once and then the individual schools will be sent your materials. This is sometimes called the primary application. You may also be required to submit materials directly to a school. This is called the secondary or supplemental application.

Tips for working with an Application Service

  • APPLY EARLY. Applying can take longer than you think.
  • Gather all the information you will need before you begin.
  • Read ALL the instructions they provide.
  • Work on your personal statement well in advance. Pre-Professional Advising will read and comment on them if you contact us well in advance of the application deadine.
  • Make use of the help desks provided by the application services.
  • Give the application the attention it deserves. This is a big deal. Don’t blow off any portion. It could make the difference between being accepted or rejected.
  • Do not cut and paste. Some systems do not handle this well and may insert strange characters.
  • Proofread, proofread, proofread.
  • Print the transcript matching form and submit it to the Office of the Registrar early in the process.
  • Print a copy of your application for your records. Read over the materials you submitted before each interview.
  • Be patient. This process can take time.

Pre-Application To-Do List

For a checklist of what you need to do to apply, a list of application services, tips, and word counts for personal statements, take a look at our Pre-Application To-Do List.