Graduate holding diploma

Prepare for Graduate School

Determine whether you plan to pursue a graduate degree and learn about key steps to take before and during the application process. You can also find this information in our graduate school quick start guide.

Office of Pre-Professional Advising

Furman offers specialized advisors in the Office of Pre-Professional Advising for students interested in pursuing careers in healthcare and in law. Students can receive help with general advising, assistance with graduate applications, gaining experience, and access to other specialized resources.

Researching Graduate Schools:

There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding which graduate programs to apply to. Use our Guide to Graduate School Research to get started on the decision making process.

General Application Timelines

Junior Year:

  • Research areas of interest
  • Discuss with your faculty advisor
  • Register and prepare for appropriate admissions tests
  • Take required tests
  • Research specific schools
  • Write draft of personal statement and resume
  • Register for a centralized application service, if applicable (i.e. AMCAS-Medical School)

Senior Year:

  • Obtain letters of recommendation
  • Take or retake admissions tests
  • Send in completed applications
  • Fill out your FAFSA for Financial Aid
  • Check with institutions prior to the deadline to make sure your file is complete.
  • Visit institutions that accept you, if applicable.
  • Select a program and notify others if you will not be attending


Personal Statements

A personal statement is your chance to provide your application with an authentic voice. The statement typically answers why you are interested in a particular field and what experiences you have that are relevant. A personal statement can take up to a few months to create and revise, so start early!

Standardized Tests

The majority of graduate programs will require a standardized test. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is the most common test. However, some programs have specific tests related to a profession or field of study. Test structure, timelines, costs, and scheduling varies. Be sure to do your research! Examples of program-specific standardized tests are listed below:

Specialized Programs:

Allopathic Medicine (M.D.): MCAT

Dentistry: DAT

Osteopathic Medicine (D.O): MCAT

Pharmacy: PCAT

Law School: LSAT

Business (usually MBA programs): GMAT

Optometry: OAT

For more information on testing, resources, recommendations, etc. visit this resource.

Other Useful Test Prep and Graduate School Resources:

Magoosh Test Prep

Kahn Academy

ETS Test Prep

Peterson’s Test Prep

U.S. News Graduate School Rankings and Resources


Princeton Review

Requesting Recommendations

Recommendations are a critical part of graduate school applications. Faculty can attest first-hand to your academic discipline and enthusiasm. A positive letter can put a stamp of approval on your application that will make all the difference. It is critical to approach your professors early so they have enough time to write you a letter, and professionally so they will write a positive letter. Read our Guide to Requesting Recommendations to learn more about this process.

Curriculum Vitae

A Curriculum Vitae (CV) is a special type of resume that is traditionally used within the academic and scientific research communities. Degrees, teaching and research experience, publications, presentations, and related activities are typically featured. At the undergraduate level, CVs are not much different than a resume. However, if asked for a CV, you will want to tailor your resume accordingly to showcase applicable academic accomplishments.


Make sure to ask about grants, scholarships and loans to help you pay for school. Some programs also offer assistantships (graduate assistant positions) that will help fund your tuition. Assistantships can vary from teaching, research, and administrative responsibilities. Be sure to ask programs directly about funding opportunities–not all information is posted online. When searching for programs, use keywords to help you. For example, when looking for funded masters programs, search for your program title in Google with “assistantship” in quotes or or ‘fully funded” in quotes for PhD programs.

Graduate students also have the option of applying for student loans. Always be conscious of the amount of money you are borrowing–it all needs be paid back (plus interest). Talk frequently with financial aid professionals at your chosen school to discuss what’s right for you. Below are some websites where you can research scholarships available to graduate students:

Scholarship Search Engines for Graduate Study:

ProFellow Database of Programs

Peterson’s Scholarship Search




Visiting Graduate Schools

Visiting graduate schools can help you to make your final decision on where to attend. Read our guide on questions to ask and things to consider when you make your visits.


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