HOW DO I PREPARE FOR GRADUATE SCHOOL?
I. Be sure to take the right courses.
If you plan to go to graduate school in math, be sure to take several
proof courses, preferably the more advanced ones. If possible, plan to
take some graduate courses your senior year. Be sure to talk with your
faculty advisor to help plan your schedule and choose your courses
- If you plan to go to graduate school in another area, look at
sites for graduate programs in that area to see what math courses and
what other courses are appropriate preparation. You can find some more
information about careers and graduate programs in math-related areas
II. Make good grades
- Minimum overall GPA for admission to graduate schools is usually 3.0. Some schools have higher criteria.
- Graduate schools typically look at upper division GPA as well as
overall GPA. They pay special attention to the courses that are
important for their programs.
III. Participation in a summer Research Experience for
Undergraduates or similar research or independent study program can be
Keep an eye out for notices on bulletin boards, and do some scouting out on the web to find other possibilities. (http://www.ma.utexas.edu/users/mks/statund/intern.html can help get you started.)
IV. Letters of recommendation are important.
- For most graduate schools, the only letters of recommendation
that are considered are from your instructors in courses relevant to
the graduate program. Character references or letters from employers
are not usually helpful, unless the employment is directly relevant to
your ability to perform in graduate school.
- Letters of recommendation from professors in your upper
division classes, especially those most relevant to the graduate
program, are the best to get.
- As much as possible, let professors whom you might ask for
letters of recommendation know that while you are still in their class,
so they can be sure to note how you are doing and be able to write an
informative letter when the time comes.
- Many students give a short resume to the professors they ask for
letters. Sometimes this can help the professor write an informative
- It's considered standard courtesy to give a letter writer
stamped, addressed envelopes in which to send letters which are to be
sent by snail-mail.
V. Most graduate programs require standardized tests such as the GRE.
Be sure to check out what the
programs you're interested in require, and sign up to take the tests to
allow plenty of time for your test scores to reach the graduate
programs before they are due.