Part 2: What do you want from me? Applying to STEM Graduate Programs

Author’s Note:  I’ve been working on some version of this post for over three years.  During that time, so many folks have provided feedback.  Thanks to Katie SmithJoanna SolinsPriya ShuklaJordan HollersmithAviva Rossi, and (as always) Meridith Bartley.  Any omissions of important information are mine, but many of the most valuable bits of knowledge come from these individuals.

If you haven’t read Part One in this series, please consider giving it a quick peek. Applying to STEM graduate programs is a long, stressful, multifaceted journey. In the previous post, we covered what resources you may already have at your disposal, how to get in contact with potential graduate mentors, and what information you’re likely to want to share with them during this initial contact. That sounds like a lot, but there’s even more to cover! With this half of our guide we will detail what additional components you must compile to submit as part of an application to a research program. 

Baby Bachelor Scientistas

Taking Required Entrance Exams (August-December)

Graduate schools often want you to report scores from a few major exams.  This requirement is currently in flux, so it’s worth it to check carefully to see what each school you are interested in requires.  Preparing for these exams is a big part of preparing for your graduate school application. You can dramatically improve your scores by taking advantage of the training materials ahead of time.  While these tests are important, most graduate programs do not use these scores as the only metric to judge your application. In addition to several departments removing the GRE as a requirement altogether, others are decreasing the weight given to the GRE during the admissions process. It’s important to do your best and, once the test is complete, shift your focus to making the rest of your application as strong as possible.   

Continue reading “Part 2: What do you want from me? Applying to STEM Graduate Programs”