Applying to Graduate School? Don't Forget These Three Things

Applying to Graduate School? Don't Forget These Three Things

By Brianna Burrows

There are many elements that you need to complete the graduate school application process as an international student. It can be an overwhelming process. Here are three important things that international student should not forget when applying to graduate school.

Take the TOEFL or IELTS

A graduate program in the United States will involve a tremendous amount of reading and writing in English. Therefore it’s important to be honest with yourself about your proficiency of English. For graduate programs in the America, you will be required to submit a TOEFL or IELTS score to show proof of proficiency. Each graduate school has different minimum requirements for the TOEFL or IELTS test. Generally, most graduate schools require a TOEFL score in the range of 550-560 for the paper test and 75-90 for the online test. You will need to verify with the specific graduate programs you are interested in to see their minimum requirements. It’s very important you plan ahead so you can complete your exam in advance of your program’s application deadline.

Graduate School Entrance Exam

In addition to taking the TOEFL or IELTS test, most graduate schools require a graduate school entrance exam called the GRE. Certain graduate programs require different graduate entrance exams, for example, if you’re planning to apply to law school, you will need to take the LSAT, or if you are interested in applying to business school you may be required to take the GMAT. It is important to check with each graduate school to find out which entrance exam they require. Similarly to the TOEFL or IELTS test, plan ahead when you will take your graduate school entrance exam.


Most graduate schools will require a reference of recommendation or simply called ‘references.’ This is a letter from a person, the reference, recommending you for the graduate program to which you are applying. It is best to ask someone you have worked with, within your career, or a previous academic professor. You will need to ask your reference for the letter of recommendations well in advance of your program’s deadline as it may take them sometime to respond to your request for a letter of recommendation.

Graduate school is a big decision, and an exciting one, no doubt. Always leave yourself plenty of time to complete the entire process so you are not rushing when the deadline nears. Applying to graduate school is no easy process but if you remember to complete these three things, you’ll be much closer to completing your application!

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Brianna Burrows is a freelance marketing specialist and alumna of Northeastern University. She specializes in event management, social media management, and content branding. Follow her on Twitter here.

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