Graduate and Professional School Resources
The CDO assists current students and recent alumni with the graduate and professional school planning, application, and selection process. Our aim is to connect Grinnellians with resources, programs, and schools that best meet their specific needs and professional goals. Approximately one quarter of Grinnell graduates continue directly on to graduate or professional school; but approximately half of all Grinnell alumni eventually earn graduate or professional degrees. How do you decide if and when you should attend graduate or professional school? Which kind of program should you pursue? In short:
- speak with faculty members, mentors, alumni, and folks who have pursued similar career paths (consulting the Pre-Professional Adviser List, when necessary);
- check out the 2013 Graduate & Professional School Guide (PDF) for a detailed discussion of these questions and other matters; and
- feel free at any time to make an appointment with an adviser at the CDO (269-4940) to discuss your plans.
Planning and Applying (Resources)
- Each fall, the Career Development Office sponsors a Graduate and Professional School Fair in the Joe Rosenfield '25 Center. (Click on this link for a complete list of participating institutions and programs from the October 2012 fair.) Be on the lookout for an announcement about the 2013 fair in the weekly CDO Newsletter and the "Events and Calendar" on the main CDO webpage.
- If you're thinking about graduate or professional school but are still not sure what you want to do in terms of a career, explore What Can I Do with a Graduate Degree in. . . ?
- The Peterson's Guides to Graduate Education can be helpful in choosing a particular course of study and identifying which institutions offer those programs. Printed versions, offering comprehensive information on graduate degree programs at nearly 2,400 institutions in the United States and abroad, are available in the Career Development Office Library.
- To search by area of study and/or region of the country, you may want to check out www.gradschools.com.
- College Source Online provides the full text of college catalogs from 2-year, 4-year, and graduate schools. The database is searchable by major, tuition, state, enrollment, degrees, and affiliation. It also has links to financial aid information and college home pages.
- Get the latest graduate school rankings, interactive tools, and up-to-date articles by area of study from U.S. News & World Report.
- For international study, www.studyabroad.com is a comprehensive site where you will find listings for thousands of study-abroad programs in more than 100 countries throughout the world. You will also find hundreds of links to study abroad program home pages and a wealth of related information.
- The instructors in the campus Writing Lab, ARH 132, are glad to work with current students to help you improve your graduate school application essays (or internship essays, job application letters, scholarship application essays). Call 269-3117 or stop by the Lab to make an appointment.
- Two resources on asking for letters of recommendation are: How To Ask For a Letter of Recommendation (PDF) and If Your Professor is on Sabbatical.pdf (PDF).
Navigating Entrance Exams
Most disciplinary graduate programs require GRE (Graduate Record Exam) test scores as part of the admission materials. Professional schools (law schools, medical schools, veterinary schools, etc.) have their own exam requirements. Pay attention to graduate school exam test dates to make sure you don't miss deadlines for sending in your application. You should plan to take these tests in your junior year or first semester of your senior year if you plan to enroll in graduate school the semester after you graduate from Grinnell. Information on some of main exams is below; also see the the 2013 Graduate & Professional School Guide (PDF), page 10, for details on additional exams, including the Dental Admission Test (DAT), Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), Miller Analogies Test (MAT), and Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT).
- GRE (www.ets.org/gre): This computer-based test, the Graduate Record Examination, is required for entrance to most disciplinary graduate programs. It ias two parts, taken independently: The GRE General Test is designed to measure analytical, verbal, quantitative, and writing ability. The GRE Subject Test is an examination in a major field of study. Graduate schools may require one or both parts of the test; make sure to investigate thoroughly. Offered year-round at Prometric testing centers (the closest of which is in West Des Moines).
- LSAT (www.lsac.org): The Law School Admission Test is a requirement for admission to law school; it's a "traditional" (that is, paper-and-pencil) exam. Offered four times per year (at the University of Iowa): once during the spring term, once in the summer, and twice during the fall term. (The test is not always but often also offered in Ankeny at Des Moines Area Community College.) Students interested in law school should peruse the helpful materials provided on the site by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC).
- MCAT (www.aamc.org): The Medical College Admission Test is taken by applicants to medical schools. Interested students should also fulfill requirements of the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS). Approximately two dozen administrations of the computer-based test are offered between January and September at Prometric test centers (the closest of which is in West Des Moines).
- The Praxis Series (www.ets.org/praxis) is an Educational Testing Service (ETS) program that provides tests and other services for states to use as part of their teacher certification process. Colleges and universities use these assessments to qualify individuals for entry into teacher education programs.
Understanding Fellowships, Scholarships, and Other Financial Aid Opportunities
A key to success in landing fellowships, scholarships, and other sorts of financial aid is searching for opportunities and applying early. See the the 2013 Graduate & Professional School Guide (PDF), page 11, for discussion of various funding opportunities that are affiliated with graduate and professional schools. Talk with your faculty mentors and representatives of the institutions where you are planning to apply. And consult the following resources for external sources of funding that you may use to fund your graduate or professional school education:
- International Education Financial Aid: An extensive, well-organized resource for international students wishing to study in a foreign country. Comprehensive listing of grants, scholarships, loan programs, and other information. Search by field of study and/or country of origin.
- Gradschools.com: An extensive source of graduate school information that is easy to search by school or subject. Financial aid resources include references to other online resources (e.g., searchable scholarship, fellowship, and internship databases).
- Social Science Research Council (SSRC): The SSRC fellowship and grant programs that are sponsored either independently by the SSRC or with other organizations. Includes opportunities for those interested in fellowships in the social sciences and humanities (and, in some programs, in natural science). Listings are organized by type of fellowship (e.g., pre-/post-dissertation, post-doctoal, other).
- Cornell University Fellowships Database: This database offers an extensive list of fellowships. You can perform a general search, as well as click on a subject of interest or specific population. Results of your search are then listed alphabetically, and each link offers specific information about that fellowship when clicked. Alphabetical results can be slightly overwhelming, but the detailed information is worth the effort.
- University of Illinois Graduate College Fellowship Opportunities: Another aggregate listing of fellowship opportunities, organized by category.
- Specific Populations: Financial aid resources for students from various minority groups who are interested in graduate school. Check out more national and Grinnell College–specific fellowships, scholarships, and grants through the Office of Social Commitment.