Potential graduate students are judged on their undergraduate GPA and coursework, as well as research interests, letter of purpose or personal statement, GRE scores, and letters of recommendation. These requirements are standard for most graduate programs, however, students should study specific requirements for the programs that are of interest.
All graduate programs require official copies of all transcripts for every university or college attended. These transcripts provide critical information about past grades and coursework. In addition, a letter of purpose or a personal statement is called for in most programs. The topic requirements for the letter are often discipline and program specific. However, in general, one would discuss their reasons for applying to the graduate program, address any applicable skills, previous research or experience in the field or a related field, and note a research focus.
Scores for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) are also required for entry into graduate school. This standardized test assesses a student's ability in verbal mechanics, quantitative reasoning and writing. Most programs desire candidates with scores above the 80th percentile in all sections. Finally, letters of recommendation are requested for most applicants. These can be obtained from previous professors, employers or mentors, and responses should be tailored to the discipline or research focus intended, highlighting the prospective student's skills and experience in that area.