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Graduate School

Interested in graduate school but don't know where to start looking? Read about what to look for in a graduate program, as well as the steps you need to take to get you there, and get you there on-time!

Graduate School Information and Websites

If you're heading off to grad school and are interested in testing dates, facilities, registration, and computer-based exams, visit the UH Hilo Testing Center website for information.
Search graduate programs by subject.  Over 58,000 graduate program listed and growing every day!
All you need to find the right school, information on how to apply, GRE course information and tips on how to master the financial aid process.
The Educational Testing Service site provides links to all the major testing programs for graduate school applicants.
Search graduate programs by subject and/or state.  Additionally, this site has information on distance learning graduate program options.
Find information on “Why Should You Consider Graduate School” and “Getting Into Graduate School: Learning Strategies for Finding & Getting into the School of your Choice”.  This site also provides information to currently enrolled graduate school students with tips on “Surviving Graduate School: Learning what to expect and how to cope”.
Find information on graduate school rankings, associations for graduate school students, links to websites designed to help you get into graduate school.

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Graduate School Timeline and Checklist

Junior Year

  1. Search for universities and investigate options for fields of study
  2. Talk with your faculty advisor in your department about graduate schools
  3. Visit your Career Services Center for guides and other reference materials
  4. Develop a list of potential schools  Hint:  Do your research on the schools and their programs (see: Choosing a Graduate School Program handout)!
  5. Investigate the GRE exam locations in your area, when the test is offered, how much it will cost

Summer After Junior Year

  1. Write or call graduate school programs for informational materials and application forms(sometimes you can request information and an application be sent to you online) Hint: Photocopy all the application forms when you receive them so you will have a spare!
  2. Contact the department at the schools you are interested in and request information on the program and degree requirements  Hint: When contacting the department, consider making an appointment to visit the university and arrange a meeting with someone in the department (a faculty member you might be interested in working with)!
  3. Start writing you admission essay(s) and have your faculty advisor, or someone one else in the department, review your drafts
  4. Consider using the summer to study for the GRE (or whatever entrance test is necessary for your degree interest)  Hint:  Go online and run through pre-tests, it will help you get familiar with the format of the test(s); and get a test prep book and USE IT!

Fall Senior Year

  1. Register and take the GRE (or other test(s))
  2. Work with your past and current faculty to obtain letters of recommendation  Hint:  Give the person you have asked to write you a letter a copy of your resume and transcript, it will help them prepare a letter that best reflects you!  And, give them enough time to work on it, remember they are busy people!
  3. Send in completed application packets  Hint:  Keep a photocopy of the completed packet for your record and double, triple check everything is in it that should be!
  4. At your Registrar’s Office request that your official transcripts be sent to the schools you are applying to

Fall/winter Senior Year

  1. Make sure you have submitted all application materials by the deadlines!!!
  2. Call graduate schools as often as necessary to check that all your applications materials have been received

Spring Senior Year

  1. Send the required information and/or money to the institution where you have been accepted

Tip: Write thank you notes to the people who wrote you recommendation letters and helped you during your application process to inform them of your success

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Choosing a Graduate School Program

Here are some things to consider as you search and evaluate possible graduate school options.


  1. Is there research being conducted in areas of interest to you?
  2. What faculty is doing research in areas you would be interested in?
  3. Are the professors in the program well recognized leaders in their field?


  1. What is the focus of the program: theory, practice, research?
  2. How much of the program can be tailored to fit your interests?
  3. How flexible is the program?
  4. What courses are offered as part of the program?
  5. How well is the program supported by the institution?
  6. How up-to-date is the computer and laboratory equipment?

Financial Assistance

  1. How much is tuition for the duration of the program?
  2. What types of financial assistance is available?
  3. Are there assistantships, and how many?
  4. Are there fellowships available and what are the qualifications?


  1. Is the school located in an area you would feel comfortable living for the duration of the program?
  2. Is it too far away from family and friends?
  3. How is the community outside of the college/university?

Campus Community

  1. What support is available to graduate students?
  2. How many graduate students attend the university vs. undergraduates?
  3. Are there opportunities for involvement in activities outside the graduate program?
  4. How extensive is the library and resources available on campus?

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