Gonzaga University supports students and alumni with goals of attaining graduate or professional-level degrees. We recommend that students make ample time for discernment about graduate or professional school, and to utilize the many available on-campus and external resources at various points along their educational and career journeys.
This website provides general information that may apply to a variety of graduate or professional programs. Use ZagsIgnite to schedule an appointment with one of our career professionals to discuss your specific career or graduate and professional school applications questions.
Students are encouraged to work with academic, faculty, and career advisors to select a major that fits their strengths and interests, and an academic progression plan that fulfills any pre-requisite coursework for graduate or professional school.
Involvement in clubs and organizations, volunteer and service opportunities, study abroad, research, work experience, and other co-curricular activities can help you boost your resume and develop skills and qualities that will prepare you for future graduate study.
Identifying your professional goals will help guide your decisions about graduate study. Certain careers have clearly defined educational pathways, while others are less regimented and therefore require more investigation and reflection about what is right for you.
Seek opportunities to learn more about a particular academic program or career path. This may include job shadowing, informational interviewing, networking, internships, work experiences, and other professional activities. In addition to a faculty or academic advisor, consider identifying and building relationships with professors or other mentors in a particular field of study or career interest.
When researching and selecting schools, discover information through online research, open houses, and graduate fairs.
Check out Career & Professional Development Services and Online Resources for more tools and guidance in clarifying and attaining your educational and career goals.
Application requirements will vary by degree, program and/or individual school. Below are some typical elements that may be part of your application checklist. Consider organizing your admission and application information using a spreadsheet or other means of tracking deadlines and requirements. You can find several templates and resources at the Downloadable Documents page.
With a few exceptions, including law school and the health professions, there is typically no common application or portal for graduate school. This means you will likely need to create an account and apply on each individual school’s website.
Understanding deadlines and working backward can help you determine when to start developing your application materials. Be advised that some graduate schools operate on rolling admissions. This means that applications are considered for admission as they are received. Therefore, the earlier your application arrives at the school, the more seats in the class are available. However, this should not cause you to rush to prepare your application materials.
Essay or Personal Statement
A personal statement or essay is your opportunity to share your background and your motivation. A school may ask you to answer a specific question, but generally you want to share your experiences, and address how this degree will help you achieve your professional goals. You can likely use parts of the essay for multiple schools, but you will also want to somewhat tailor your essay to each particular institution. You can find tips and resources on our Downloadable Documents page.
Letters of Recommendation
Letters of recommendation help give the admissions committee additional insight into your personal qualities and potential for continuing intellectual and professional growth. You will likely request evaluations from professors as well as other professional contacts who may have supervised you in work or volunteer settings.
Resume or CV
A resume or curriculum vitae (also known as a CV) may be part of your application requirements. You may see these terms used interchangeably, and it may depend on your industry or program.
A standardized exam may be required as part of the admission process. The purpose is to assess your suitability for graduate-level study. Exams also provide a data point when comparing applicants. The conversations around standardized exams is ever evolving, so be sure you understand the current requirements that may even vary school by school.
One of the most common exams is the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), but other examples include the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), and the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).
Official transcripts from all colleges and universities you previously attended are likely to be required. Contact your institution’s Registrar’s office, and be sure to request the transcripts well in advance of deadlines.