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Applying to Graduate School

Graduate school application process is admittedly a long, challenging phase of your academic experience. However, the time and effort spent will be well worth it when you are eventually accepted into the graduate program of your dream institution. Between researching various programs, deciding which ones to apply to, requesting letters of recommendation, crafting the perfect statement of purpose, studying for and taking the GRE, submitting applications, and maintaining all correspondences throughout the entire process, it can indeed be an overwhelming task.

The most important approach to this process is to start preparing early, and be very organized. The Bowie State University McNair Program staff are ready to assist you with every aspect of the application process, and provide guidance along the way.

Statement of purpose/personal statement

The statement of purpose/personal statement is a key component of the graduate school application package. It is a personal statement about who you are, what or who has influenced you, what your academic and professional interests are, and the next phase of your life after graduating from Bowie State University. It essentially serves as a way for admission committee members “meet you” and even learn additional information not mentioned in other parts of your application.

Statements of purpose/personal statements vary, based on institutions and programs. Some programs ask for a general statement of purpose, while others provide one or more specific prompts you are required to address. Regardless, crafting a well- written, concise statement of purpose is critical for a successful application.

The Graduate Record Exam (GRE)

The GRE is the admissions test required by most graduate school programs. It is mainly used to evaluate your preparedness for graduate-level work as it measures verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and analytical writing skills.

Most graduate schools only require the General Exam; however, there are also eight Subject Tests that may be required by some graduate programs to supplement your application package. You can go to the Educational Testing Services (ETS) website for more information on the GRE.

The GRE General test costs roughly $160 and each Subject Test costs $140. However, McNair Scholars are eligible for a GRE® Fee Reduction Certificate, which covers 50% of the full test fee. A Fee Reduction Certificate may be used for one GRE General Test and/or one GRE Subject Test, and participation in the Fee Reduction Program is limited to one time only.

Because of the weight GRE scores often carry in the graduate school application, it is important that you are fully prepared to take the exam so you can do your very best. There are a number of free test preparation programs available for the GRE test. Some programs have a fee associated with them (e.g. Kaplan and Princeton Review); but free, official test preparation materials for the computer-based and paper-based tests are also available at the  ETS website.

Graduate School Application Fee Waiver for McNair Scholars

A number of graduate programs waive the graduate school application fee for McNair Scholars. Most graduate programs simply require a letter from the Program staff to verify eligibility for the fee waiver. Please find out whether your desired institution accepts fee waivers. We would be happy to prepare as many as you need.

Graduate School Funding for McNair Scholars

Many graduate programs also provide special funding for McNair Scholars to support their graduate education, including fellowships, assistantships, scholarships, stipends, and tuition waivers. Remember to inquire from the admission staff at each institution you intend to submit application(s) to.