UC Merced Provides Tips for Applying to Graduate School

October 06 02:00 2020
UC Merced Provides Tips for Applying to Graduate School

Fall is here and now is the perfect time to begin preparing for applying to graduate school. The UC Merced Graduate Division team is here to help you on your journey to grad school. Below are some tips on how you can begin preparing for your application today!

1. Make a List of Graduate Programs that Fit with Your Interests and Goals

Graduate school is about finding the right program that aligns with your research interests. Explore faculty and program web pages to learn about a professor’s current research. Also, read their academic papers and articles, and don’t be shy to reach out to them via email with good questions. Keep an open mind as you explore different graduate programs and campuses. Remember, choosing where to attend graduate school is much different from choosing where to do your undergraduate studies. Graduate school is all about finding the right fit!

UC Merced currently has 18 different graduate programs. Learn more about them here. You can also explore the 700 graduate degrees offered across the 10 University of California campuses by visiting ucal.us/grad.

2. Pay Close Attention to Dates and Requirements

You will likely be applying to multiple institutions and each one will have their own set of requirements and application due dates. We encourage you to find ways to keep yourself organized. Our team is a big fan of free project management platforms like Trello, Asana, and Evernote. These sites are great because you can also download their apps to your smart devices, making sure you stay organized on the go.

3. Take the GRE:

We know the GRE (Graduate Record of Examination) can seem scary. Don’t stress, prepare! 

Our team recommends that you plan on taking the GRE the summer before your senior year, this will give you time to retake the test if you are unhappy with your scores. If you are applying for Fall 2020 admission and have not taken the GRE- it’s not too late! You can find your nearest testing location here.

UC Merced’s programs require that you take the general test, except the Physics Graduate Program, which requires the subject test. If you are applying to multiple universities, be sure to pay attention to the types of tests required.

There is evidence that GRE scores are not a clear predictor of students’ potential for success in graduate school. UC Merced reviews our applicants holistically; this means we are looking at all the application aspects that make YOU an excellent prospective graduate student. Test scores are just one piece of the puzzle.

You can learn more about the GRE and access free practice tests and tools at takethegre.com

4. Start Applying for External Fellowships

Don’t let finances stop you from pursuing a graduate education! Currently, 97% of UC Merced Ph.D. students are fully funded through teaching assistantships, graduate student researcher positions, and fellowships. Funding normally covers tuition, fees and provides a stipend towards living expenses. Unfortunately, the same funding opportunities may not be available to master’s students, so keep this in mind when deciding which degree is the best fit for you.

When you submit your application to UC Merced, you will automatically be considered for our internal fellowships. We also encourage you to apply for external fellowships (think of fellowships as the graduate equivalent to undergraduate scholarships). Receiving an external fellowship is considered to be prestigious and will help you to be a more competitive applicant. 

External fellowships typically have earlier deadlines than grad school applications, so start looking now. UCLA’s online Graduate and Postdoctoral Extramural Support Database — known as GRAPES — provides information on more than 500 public and private fellowships. Anyone can access the databases; you don’t have to be an applicant to a particular institution to use this convenient resource.

5. Build Relationships

After you’ve done your research and identified your top universities, it’s time to start networking! Our advice is to read publications by professors you are interested in working with and then email them to begin an intellectual conversation about their work. This will help you gain insight into the program and determine if you can see yourself at that institution. Another bit of insider information: grad admission committees are made up of faculty, so establishing connections early is highly recommended! 

If you are nervous about contacting faculty members directly, we suggest you reach out to each university’s graduate recruiter or admissions team. At UC Merced, our recruiters (Will and Jessica) are always happy to help answer your questions, connect you with faculty, and guide you on your path to grad school!

Media Contact
Company Name: University of California – Merced
Contact Person: Media Relations
Email: Send Email
Phone: (209) 228-4400
Address:5200 North Lake Rd
City: Merced
State: CA
Country: United States
Website: https://graduatedivision.ucmerced.edu/