Exploring your options

Discover the schools and programs that are best for you by talking with professors and current graduate students, visiting prospective schools and exploring academic publications and social media.

Take the right courses

Many graduate courses require challenging prerequisite courses beyond those required for a bachelor’s degree. Talk to professors and graduate advisers to learn which courses will help you become a competitive applicant. Participate in study groups and challenge yourself to earn high grades.

Make connections

Office hours aren't just for times when you're struggling. Talk with your instructors about topics you'd like to tackle in graduate school and listen to their advice.

Your professors can help you build networks at other schools and universities by introducing you to faculty, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who share your interests. They’ll also be able to provide the strong recommendations you’ll need for graduate school.

Get to know your fellow students, as well as current graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who can serve as mentors.

Do your own research

When you find interesting articles or books written by researchers in your field, look into programs offered by their schools. You can also e-mail professors to express interest in their work and ask about their current research.

Visit potential schools

When possible, visit campuses that offer programs that fit your interests. Find out if they have open houses or other events that will allow you to see their facilities and meet faculty and current graduate students.

Connect through social media

Follow interesting programs and faculty on Facebook, Twitter, blogs or other social media. When appropriate, make thoughtful comments.

Make a good impression

Be sure to thank anyone who provides an introduction by sending them a well-written e-mail — or even better, a handwritten note.

Stay open-minded

Investigate the many graduate programs and campuses that could be a good fit for your research interests.