How to Prepare For Grad School

Posted: July 17, 2020 | Author: Grace Thorkelson | Read Time: 3 minutes

How to prepare for grad school

Preparing for graduate school may seem like a daunting task, but taking small steps while working on an undergraduate degree can help students feel ready to apply for a dream program, and find success in reaching personal and professional goals, no matter how ambitious they are. Although graduate programs vary greatly in field, length, cost, and admission requirements--below are a few universal tips on how to become a viable, prepared candidate and apply to any graduate program and institution.

Get Involved with Clubs on Campus

Students from diverse backgrounds, cultures, languages, and social groups come together to participate in campus clubs to foster meaningful relationships, serve the community, learn about our ever-changing society, and much more. Don’t be afraid to break out of your comfort zone by joining a club that interests you, even if you have little or no experience in that area.

Clubs at universities typically range from political, social, and religious organizations to athletic or student government groups. Not only will you learn from your colleagues and their perspectives, but you will network and make friends with many unique individuals.

IvyWise advises students to “join both professional and social clubs as they will reflect the depth of your interests and show your desire to be a dynamic part of your school’s community. Be sure to grow into leadership roles so that you can build your skills in leading others and demonstrate responsibility.”

Research Prospective Graduate Programs

Some students know exactly what program or industry they are interested in, but others may not have the same clear-cut direction or path for what they want to do in the future. Getting connected with alumni, contacting the admission and recruitment teams, and doing a fair share of research about each institution and program can give undergrads insight into the details of what would be the right fit for their academic and professional goals. Don’t hesitate to reach out to peers who are also preparing for graduate school. Asking lots of questions and learning from the institution’s website can be extremely helpful as well.

Gain Experience Through an Internship

Internships help mold knowledgeable and capable students into successful industry professionals who understand the workplace, and know-how to interact with their colleagues and leaders.

CareerUp says, “college students that complete an internship have a great advantage over those that don’t. They learn how to apply the knowledge that they have gained in the classroom into the workplace. Internships give you the chance to test-run the knowledge that you have gained while learning new skills in the process.”

Internships also provide insight into individual likes and dislikes in the workplace, and may help determine whether or not a particular profession is right for you. Gaining this experience prior to being hired full-time at a job or an unfamiliar field can add confidence to your career choices.

Network with Faculty and Staff

Take advantage of the professional experience of both faculty and staff at your higher education institution. They have been in the same position and can help you reach your goals, both academically and professionally.
Attend professor’s office hours and ask them questions about their experiences may help gain common ground, and learn from their accomplishments and setbacks. Utilize the various resources that are available to you on your current college campus by attending graduate school fairs, applying for internship opportunities, and attending seminars and information sessions to help you down the road.


Students who make an effort to get involved with campus clubs, participate in internships, engage with their professors, and broaden their understanding of prospective graduate programs will be well-equipped to apply for and receive admittance to graduate programs around the nation. As a junior or senior, it may feel too late to the game, but don’t stress. Get involved and make the most of the time that you have left.

Produced by SUU Graduate Studies

Southern Utah University's Graduate School draws from a prestigious heritage and allows students to pursue a quality education. The master's degree programs offer students the chance to further their professional and educational careers on campus or online.

If you are interested in learning more about the graduate programs at SUU, reach out to one of our excellent admissions officers at 435-865-8665 or

Tags: Graduate Programs

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