Applying to Graduate School

Thinking about graduate school? There is a lot to consider!

Pursuing graduate studies is a big and exciting step! Here are a few things to consider

Is it right for you? Is it right for you right now—or, when is the right time for graduate school? How do you select a graduate program?
What is included in the application process?

Making the Decision

  • Questions to ask:
    • What is the short-term pay off?
      • Will an advanced degree help you land a job in your field more easily?
      • Will you be able to secure a higher starting salary?
    • What is the long-term pay off?
      • Will you be more likely to be promoted?
      • Will you be able to demand a higher salary over time?
    • Will you be able to defer full-time employment and/or wages in order to complete a program? (It is possible to work while enrolled in some programs, but certain programs make this very challenging.)
  • How to research
    • Talk to faculty members within your field of study about the graduate school decision-making process. You are likely to need a faculty reference if you do decide to apply, so it makes sense to engage in these conversations early.
    • Conduct informational interviews with people working in your field of interest. What was their educational background, and what trends are they seeing in new hires?
    • Review online resources

  • Specialized graduate programs (MAcc, MS in Finance, MS in Data Science, MS in Business Analytics, and others) are on the rise. Some of these programs can be a good fit for students straight out of an undergraduate program. If you are considering a newly developed program, it might be wise to conduct some informational interviews, look at current job postings to get familiar with expectations, and talk to recruiters to see how these new specialized programs are regarded in the marketplace.
  • Many MBA programs are designed for students who have been out in the working world for 5 – 10 years after completing an undergraduate program.
  • Some companies (and some accounting firms) offer tuition reimbursement for employees who pursue graduate studies or additional training once they are working for a company. Check out the expectations in your career field to see if these options exist before deciding to enroll in a graduate program (you could end up saving some money).

  • Questions to ask:
    • Is the program reputable and well-regarded?
    • How does the school support students to find jobs?
    • Does the program have close connections to the types of jobs and industries you are pursuing?
    • Does the program align closely with your values and goals?
  • How to research
    • Review graduate programs’ websites, attend their virtual info sessions, and talk to their recruiters.
    • Conduct informational interviews with alumni.
    • Check out graduate school rankings for programs you are considering.

  • The GRE or GMAT may be required for business school and other graduate programs.*
  • The LSAT is required for entrance to law school.*

*Note that, at this writing, the scores for the GRE, the GMAT, and the LSAT are good for five years. Some students find that it’s easier to take these tests soon after they complete an undergraduate degree, while they’re still in “school mode”—as long as they know they will apply to graduate school within five years.

  • Answer the prompt! Each school might ask a slightly different question.
  • Consider using the Lundquist Cover Letter format (found in “Resume, Cover Letter, LinkedIn Career Resources”) when crafting your Personal Statement.
    • Note that this is just one type of format, there are others. For this format: In the introductory paragraph, explain why you want to pursue the degree at that particular school, what you hope to accomplish, and introduce your top two selling points. In the first body paragraph, “prove” your first selling point with an example story, in the second body paragraph, “prove” your second selling point. Then re-cap your top selling points in the closing paragraph and reiterate your interest in the program.
  • Remember your audience! What might help an Admissions Committee make a decision on your candidacy? For instance, a committee might want to know:
    • What is your direction?
    • How do you plan to use what you gain from the program to propel your career forward?
    • Why are you interested in their particular program?
    • What will you add or contribute to the program?

Applying to Graduate School

Career Resources

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Contact & Location


Mohr Career Services
155 Lillis
Lundquist College of Business
1208 University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403-1208

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