Thinking about Grad School? You should not start thinking about graduate school until you are well into your junior year and have fully decided on a major. At this point, you can assess your situation and see if your field requires a graduate degree, or if it is even worth it financially.
Also, make sure you have a good GPA.
Do you have the courses and experience that counts
Graduate schools are looking for specific courses and skills. Make sure you have researched your desired grad school before applying.
Your GRE score counts!
If it is under 600, you need to do some serious studying and practicing. Do not apply to grad school with a sub-600 GRE. If you are REALLY serious about graduate school, you will have nothing less than 700. Depending on the graduate program you may need to take a GMAT. Regardless of the test requirements, be prepared.
Get your references in order
You will need a minimum of three letters of recommendation. Get these from top professors who taught high level classes, preferably one that gave you an A. Grad schools place quite a bit of weight on these references. Oh, and these letters should be from profs in your major!
You may be asked to submit a writing sample
A writing sample is your chance to shine. Be sure and follow their directions. Don't submit the wrong type of sample. If they ask for journal writing, submit journal writing.
Grad Schools will ask for a personal statement
Make sure you do your personal statement for graduate school perfectly. You want to make yourself standout from the crowd. Include experiences, classes, skills, that make you qualified for that particular graduate school.
Preview grad school
You may be able to take a grad level class as a college senior. Or, you can do a grad level project through internships. This will allow you to see whether you like it or are prepared for it.
Online graduate schools are cheaper
Many colleges are opening up more online graduate degrees, These degrees are much cheaper than at a traditional program.
Graduate schools may give out financial aid awards early
Apply to graduate school as soon as you can. Many colleges give out their financial aid packages for grad school in the spring. If you get in late, some of the college's money for aid may be gone.
Richer grad schools have more money
Okay, this may sound like a given. But the more wealthier schools also give out the most money. Some schools will fund all graduate students if they can.
Graduate financial aid is all about merit
All grad schools will award scholarships and aid based on your merit. Show all A's and many accomplishments and the aid can be yours!
Is grad school worth the cost?
Research the job market for degree holders in your field. Is it there? Do they pay well? If not, it may be a waste of money.
Two last grad school tips
Graduate school is easy to ease into while you are young and going to school. Also, going to grad school is one way to avoid getting a job after undergraduate work.