The top 3 things you need to get into grad school

Admittance into graduate school is a whole different ball game from getting into an undergraduate institution. These days, students have to have years of experience and preparation before being competitive for the best graduate programs. With this in mind, how should you focus your preparation for graduate school once you’ve decided you would like to pursue further education? Hear from real admissions committee members on what they consider are the most important factors in graduate school applications.

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Tips for Personal Statement Writing

I am thrilled that at Vandy, our graduate students led an initiative to host virtual workshops on applying to grad school! As part of this workshop, they developed some tips and tricks for thinking about your personal statement, and are happy to share them with you! Read more for how to get started thinking about this statement, and tips for what to include:

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How to pick the best graduate programs to apply to

Your decision for where to apply to graduate school is yours alone. Although it may be tempting, it is a bad idea to simply use someone else’s list or national rankings as the only criteria in deciding what programs to apply to. You should invest the time to do your own searching. The emphasis, strengths, resources, and location for each program are different, and you will only know which programs fit your preferences by analyzing them yourself. This process can be overwhelming, so before you start, get tips from some of our new students here in this post. Having recently finished the process of applying, interviewing, and accepting offers, these students provide fresh insight for how to weed through the huge amount of information available and provide some general advice about what they would have done differently in their application cycle. Also in this post, I contribute my thoughts from the admissions viewpoint (hear my thoughts on this HelloPhD podcast too)!
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Updating your graduate school application through the season

I recently got an email from an applicant asking for advice about updating their application. I realized this is a topic that I haven’t discussed here before, so I thought I’d give my two cents. If you haven’t learned, I’ve got opinions about everything!
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Everyone loves me but who should be my recommenders?

You’ve interacted with a lot of people who know you very well, but your great Aunt Mary’s gushing comments will probably not get you into graduate school. If not everyone is appropriate as a graduate school recommender, who should you ask to write these important letters?
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Is “optional” really “optional” for submitting GRE scores?

As you may be aware, many biology and biomedical graduate programs have eliminated the GRE as a requirement for their applications. While some schools have completely removed the GRE as a part of the application, many others now list the GRE as “optional”. So, what does “optional” really mean and are committees still expecting you to list scores?
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How do I approach the “2-body problem”?

Some students applying to graduate school have a significant other that they are considering when making the decision about where to go. This is often unfortunately referred to as the “2 body problem”. These students can get contrasting advice about how much to consider this person and if they should tell admissions committee about their significant other. What is the right thing to do?
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Reading through the lines in a Personal Statement

You are ready to apply to grad school and have all of your ducks in a row…all that is left is the impossible task of expressing yourself in writing. No biggie. Except that it is. Sometimes, the best inspiration for starting your Personal Statement or Statement of Purpose is hearing about what reviewers expect in this essay. Take a peak behind the curtain and hear what our reviewers really think as they read Personal Statements.
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