EKU Graduate School Preparation Guide

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Graduate School Preparation Guide

Important Considerations for Successful Admission into Graduate Studies at Eastern Kentucky University

What is Graduate School?

Graduate school enables the obtainment of specialized knowledge and skills in a specific academic discipline or profession. Compared to undergraduate studies, graduate school involves a more concentrated course of study with greater expectations for the quality and quantity of work. Graduate programs may also require participation in internships or practicum experiences to apply newly acquired professional skills. Programs may be academic (providing more experience in generating original research in a discipline), professional (centered on developing skills and knowledge for a specific profession), or both. A significant commitment is involved in graduate studies, but the ability to advance your career with an advanced degree is a worthwhile endeavor.

Is Graduate School Right for Me? Before applying to graduate school, ask yourself a few questions: • Am I motivated to pursue an advanced degree? • What do I want to accomplish by pursuing graduate education? • What are the working conditions, employment prospects, and physical and mental requirements of the field I plan to pursue? • At this phase of my career, is graduate school the best choice? • Have I investigated my desired EKU graduate program and determined the requirements for entrance and completion? • Have I talked to an EKU faculty or staff member in that graduate program to help estimate my readiness for graduate work and to evaluate the types of options that best fit my career goals?


Why EKU is the Right Place to Pursue Graduate Education? Despite unprecedented times in our nation, Eastern Kentucky University continues to move forward by providing advanced graduate programs built on the foundation of our over 100-year history. Here are a few reasons why EKU is the right choice for graduate education: 1) Variety: We offer over 35 master’s degree programs from six academic colleges, one specialist degree, and four doctorate degrees. 2) Accessibility: Over half of our graduate programs allow for 100% online completion, enabling working professionals to take advantage of advanced technology and quality instruction when it is convenient for them. 3) Quality: Quality programs start with quality faculty. All graduate faculty are evaluated regularly and must demonstrate expertise in their fields, quality instruction, and a commitment to scholarship. Additionally, our programs are of the highest quality to advance your career. EKU is accredited by the SACS-COC and many of the graduate programs are accredited by their discipline-specific organizations. 4) Affordability: Our graduate tuition is competitive with other institutions in the Commonwealth of Kentucky / United States and is significantly less than many online programs offered by private and for-profit institutions For the 21/22 academic year, there is no application fee!


What is Required for Acceptance into Graduate School?

The requirements for every graduate program differ based on the requirements of the program and outside accreditation agencies. Take a look at gradschool.eku.edu/graduate-programs and determine the specific requirements for the program(s) in which you are interested. However, there are a few common requirements this guide will overview: 1. Graduate School Application 2. Undergraduate Grade Point Average 3. Official Transcripts 4. Letters of Recommendation 5. Personal Statement 6. Curriculum Vita/Resume 7. Graduate Entrance Exams 8. Interview For more information on EKU Graduate School Admission Requirements, visit: gradschool.eku.edu/domestic-students


Graduate School Application

The graduate school application is one of the first steps for a student who would like to obtain a Master’s or Doctoral degree. EKU utilizes an advanced web-based technology for the application process that facilitates the process for students, faculty and staff. Applicants can utilize a “one-stop-shop” comprehensive portal to upload required information and check on the status of their application. Application Timelines: Like requirements, each graduate program has different deadlines for admission. Check out gradschool.eku.edu/graduate-application-deadlines and see when your program application is due. Before that deadline, there are a few important steps you need to take: One Year Before Application Submission:

• Begin studying and taking practice GRE or other placement exams (as required by program) • Continue talking with your advisor and other faculty and staff about your graduate school goals Six Months Before Application Submission:

• Make a master checklist of requirements that you can use to note whether you have sent applications, transcripts, letters of recommendation, and other necessary materials • Verify that your official transcript is correct and complete • Prepare your curriculum vita (a long version of a resume) – if required by program • Begin writing the first draft of your personal statement – if required by program


Two Months Before Application Submission:

• Solicit letters of recommendation. Supply a resume and if possible, a copy of your statement of educational objectives when requesting the letter. • Take the GRE or other standard exams required for your graduate program of interest. Request that the ETS send GRE scores to the schools of your choice. Remember to check and make sure your program requires the GRE. • Complete financial aid applications for institutions Submit all application materials as requested at least ONE MONTH prior to the deadline date.

Grades Matter – Grade Point Averages (GPA) and Graduate School Having satisfactory academic performance during your undergraduate degree will strengthen your graduate application and could also save you money and time. Save Money • A high GPA allows students to qualify for more scholarship opportunities • Those with a higher GPA may be able to receive a waiver for GRE, GMAT, or MAT requirements saving hundreds (check program requirements) • Graduate Assistantship opportunities are available for those with clear admission Save Time • Prevent postponing your graduate studies due to preparation for the entrance exam requirement • Enhance your competitiveness amongst other applicants to ensure admission for your desired term

The Importance of Transcripts A bachelor’s degree transcript is required for admission. There are two pathways students can seek admission; clear or provisional. Clear For those seeking clear admission, the Graduate School requires your official, degree conferred transcript on file. Provisional Students who are pending their degree conferral may submit an unofficial copy of their bachelor’s degree transcript for consideration. Upon final degree conferral, an official copy must be routed to the Graduate School for clear admission. 7

Letters of Recommendation... Step 1: Confirm letters of recommendation are a requirement for admission to your program of interest. Step 2: Identify the quantity and type of recommendation required: There are two types of recommendations:

1. Qualitative – A typed letter from the recommender outlining in their own words, why they recommend you for admission to the program. 2. Quantitative – A form the recommender completes that asks an array of predefined questions, ranking skill set and character traits. Step 3: Requesting your recommendation: Who should my recommenders be? Former or current professors, academic mentors, former or current employers, volunteer supervisors, or academic organizational leaders. Timeline • Give your recommender at least three to six weeks to submit the recommendation prior to the application deadline. • A week after your initial request, send a thank you notification, which may also serve as a reminder if they have yet to submit. • Check your application status at least three weeks to one month prior to the deadline for an update.


Personal and Professional Objectives... Some admission reviewers weigh the personal and professional objective statement heavily, as it is a testimony to your commitment and dedication to graduate degree program goals and objectives. If your program requires submission of a personal and professional objective statement, review the specific criteria outlined by the department before drafting your statement. Keep the following at the forefront of your mind when composing your personal and professional objective statement: • What has prepared you for this program? • What do you hope to gain from your education? • Where do you see yourself upon completion of your degree? For more information, see gradschool.eku.edu/how-do-i#LOR

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