University at Albany
 

Application Process

Each university determines their own application process but they usually have common components.

Check the Graduate Admission web page for each school to see what they require and when their deadlines are. If you have questions, contact their graduate admissions office and they will be happy to help you.

Use our application time line to help you plan.

Application Form

Test Scores

Transcripts

Letters of Recommendation 

Personal Statement

Resume/Vitae

Interview


Application Form

Follow the institution instruction on how to fill out the application. You will probably be able to apply either on line or through the mail. Make sure your application is free from errors. Print copies of all of the finished forms for your records and the possibility that your application package gets lost in the mail. If you are mailing materials, send them unfolded in a large envelope and consider mailing via registered mail. It is a good practice to submit your application before recommendation letters are sent so that a file is already set up for you at the prospective university.

Testing

The admissions exam(s) you will be required to take will differ depending on your area of planned study. Check the schools application instructions to see what is required. These exams are similar to the SAT and usually assess quantitative, verbal, and problem-solving abilities. Generally, for graduate school within the Arts & Sciences, the General GRE (& sometimes Subject) is usually required. For Law school, you will need to take the LSAT. For Medical school, the MCAT is required. For Business, you will need to take the GMAT. Take these exams well in advance to leave enough time for scores to be reported promptly. The GRE & GMAT can be scheduled throughout the year. Test preparation courses are available to help you prepare for various exams.  These are provided for a fee from both the UAlbany alumni association and private companies such as Kaplan. LSAT prep classes are available from The Focus Approach Law Review.

The closest testing center is as follows:

Prometric Testing Center
855 Central Ave
Albany, New York 12206
(518) 438-6762

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Transcripts

At least one (sometimes two) is usually required from each institution you've attended - anywhere you have earned a degree or where you have taken classes. Get these directly from the Registrar's Office of that school. Most institutions will charge a fee for each transcript you request. You may want to request an unofficial transcript ahead of time to examine for errors. Check with individual programs for their preferences - some will require transcripts to be sent directly; others may prefer transcripts to be sent together with other parts of the application packet.

Letters of Recommendation

The best letters come from those who know you well. Professors in particular (unless you have been out of school for a number of years, in which case letters from supervisors are acceptable) are the best sources of information for admissions committees. Consider professors with whom you have taken multiple classes or completed an independent study. Ask professors at least two months in advance if they will support your application by writing a GOOD letter of recommendation for you. Provide them with the appropriate recommendation forms (if supplied by the prospective university), information about your career goals, self-addressed stamped envelopes, and any other information they may request to assist them (i.e., transcript or writing samples). For universities requesting confidential letters, consider establishing a Career Services Reference File, a fee-based service for students and alumni. Most schools require you to submit at least three letters. For additional information, see:

Hanover's 8 Steps to a Good Letter of Recommendation
Letters of Recommendation

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Personal Statement

The purpose of most personal statements is for admissions committees to determine whether the program is a good fit for you and vice versa. The personal statement is an opportunity for you to distinguish yourself from other applicants beyond test scores and GPA's so be brief but highlight your unique characteristics. Discuss your achievements, your career goals, and how that particular university's program will prepare you to reach those goals. Career Services can assist you with finalizing your statement. For more detailed instruction, see:

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Resume/Vitae

Some institutions will request that you submit a copy of your current resume. Some will request a "Curriculum Vitae (CV)," or simply "Vitae." Both formats showcase your education & experience. However, a CV is geared toward the academic community and lists your earned degrees, teaching and research experience, publications, presentations, and related activities. Career Services can critique your resume or CV. Check out our information on how to develop a resume or curriculum vitae.  

Interview

Preparation for graduate school admissions interviews follows the same guidelines as preparing for a job interview. The most important thing you should know is yourself. Know why you want to attend that school and how it relates to your career plans. Show that you have researched the school and the program and be familiar with issues currently being debated in the field.

Resources
General Interviewing Information
Drew University's Interviews.
www.interviewfeedback.com for Medical school candidate interview questions and advice from students who have completed the interview process.

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