From Earlham to Graduate or Professional School
Deciding to continue your education after Earlham is a big step. Take into consideration these tips and resources, and visit the Career Education Office to talk one-on-one with a Career Adviser about the application process.
Choosing a School
- Research, research, research. Find out what the top schools in your chosen field are. Don't be afraid to choose 20 or more schools to begin--you'll narrow them down later. Read their websites and write down questions.
- Be organized. You might consider creating a spreadsheet to track important information about each school.
- Acquaint yourself with the faculty and their research. As a student in graduate or professional school, you will be working closely with the faculty in your program. Make sure your own academic interests align with faculty interests, and try to determine if the department seems like a good fit for you.
- Visit the campus. This is a great way to meet and ask questions of both faculty and current students. Ask if the school can put you in contact with some current students or recent alumni, as well.
Graduate/professional school applications often require:
- Official transcripts of your undergraduate study
- Entrance exam scores
- Two or more letters of recommendation from faculty or professionals in your field
- Personal statement or letter of motivation explaining why you desire to study this subject at this institution
- Writing sample or portfolio of your work
- Application fee (usually ranges between $25 and $100, and can be waived in some cases)
- April/May of Junior Year: Begin researching possible schools. Sign up to take the appropriate entrance exam: GRE, LSAT, GMAT, MCAT, DAT, PCAT, or OAT.
- June/July/August: Take the entrance exam and continue to research possible schools.
- September/October: Sign up to retake the entrance exam or to take a GRE subject test, if necessary. Choose your recommenders and ask them if they would be willing to write a positive letter of recommendation for you.
- November: Complete your application materials and have them reviewed by a Career Adviser and/or a faculty member. Check in with your recommenders and make sure they have everything they need to write a complete recommendation.
- December: Submit your application and inquire about funding.
Entrance Exams for Graduate or Professional School
Most graduate and professional schools require you to take some type of entrance exam. These exams include:
- GRE (Graduate Record Examination) for most graduate school programs
- LSAT (Law School Admission Test) for law school programs
- GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) for most MBA programs
- MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) for medical school programs
- DAT (Dental Admission Test) for dental school programs
- PCAT (Pharmacy College Admission Test) for most pharmacy school programs
- OAT (Optometry Admission Test) for most optometry school programs
Preparing for Entrance Exams
There are various online and print resources dedicated to helping students prepare for graduate and professional school entrance exams. Visit the Career Education Office or check out one of these sites for more information.
Give yourself plenty of time to study and take your entrance exams before submitting your applications. You may decide to retake an entrance exam, so plan to take your first exam in the spring or summer before your senior year.
Funding Graduate or Professional School
There are multiple ways for students to fund their studies after Earlham--from fellowships and scholarships to assistantships, grants, and financial aid. Schedule an appointment with a Career Adviser to learn about your options.
Fellowships and Scholarships
Fellowships are typically merit-based scholarships. Visit our Fellowships page to learn about some of the fellowships for which Earlham students apply, and meet with a Career Adviser to discuss your options.
Many graduate school programs offer assistantships to students. Graduate assistantships offer compensation in return for research, teaching, or administrative work. This compensation can range from full or partial tuition remission to a set stipend. Ask the faculty or admissions staff at your chosen schools whether or not they offer assistantships. You may also be able to find assistantships in other departments or offices, like the campus library, career center, or admissions office.
Grants provide funding for study in a variety of fields. Search for grants from the federal government by visiting Grants.gov.
Graduate and professional school students, like undergraduate students, can apply for financial aid in the form of loans, grants, work-study, and more. Don't forget to fill out the FAFSA to be eligible, and check out the U.S. Department of Education's Federal Student Aid website for more information.