Applying to Graduate School

Is graduate school the next step for you after completing your bachelor’s degree at UMBC? The following guide will help to structure your search for graduate programs. You will find a graduate school timeline as well as suggestions for how to go about researching and identifying schools, how to write a personal statement and even the small details you need to know about completing your graduate school application are included. Finally, we list helpful resources as well as information and suggestions on how to fund your advanced degree.

The career specialists in the Career Center are available by appointment to help you navigate the graduate application process, including critiquing your personal statement. We wish you the best of luck with your application and continued success on your journey to actualizing your potential. Read the entire online publication or use the list of topics below to jump ahead to your section of interest.

Gap Year

Pursuing a gap year, typically 12-24 months in duration, is one way to gain meaningful experience if a decision to attend graduate school at a later time is made. This experience provides you with an opportunity to assess your strengths and career interests, and build skills that are transferable to the workplace or graduate school. Different types of gap year experiences include traveling, volunteering, teaching, and post-graduate service programs. These opportunities are available to all majors, and may offer benefits including stipends, housing, and/or tuition assistance. For more information see our Gap Year page.

Is Graduate School For You?

  • Now or later?
  • Common reasons to attend grad school
  • Types of graduate degrees
  • Special requirements for professional degree programs

Typical Timeline for Applying to Graduate School

Preparing for Graduate School

  • Establishing relationships with faculty mentors
  • List of Undergraduate Advisor Coordinators
  • Building on Your Strengths

Selecting the Best Graduate Program for You

  • Important questions to consider
  • Researching programs of Interest
  • Sources of Information
  • Additional helpful websites

Completing the Applications

  • What makes a strong application?
  • Attacking the forms
  • Personal statements and essays
  • Obtaining letters of reference
  • Suggestions for completing the application form
  • Admissions tests
  • Transcripts
  • Other supporting materials
  • Making the most of interviews, visits, and auditions
  • Sample interview questions

Funding your Graduate Education

  • Estimating costs of attendance
  • Assistantships—research, teaching, and other
  • Fellowships, scholarships, and traineeships
  • Student loans
  • Federal and state financial aid
  • Tuition benefits for military personnel and veterans
  • Employer tuition benefits
  • Internships/cooperative education
  • Additional resources
  • UMBC campus career partners offering graduate school application assistance
  • Key service providers


Upcoming Grad School Events Calendar

  • Grad School 101 Seminar (usually held in Oct.)
  • Graduate School Information Sessions