FAQ: Graduate Study

What should students be doing if they are interested in graduate study?

Students who are interested in graduate school either immediately after graduation from Princeton or in the foreseeable future should be sure to take care of some things while they are still on campus.

  • Start with faculty: Students should meet with faculty in their discipline of interest or the designated pre-professional advisor (e.g. Pre-Med or PreLaw).
  • Understand admissions: Students should assess admissions requirements early. Many business schools, for example, want students to have full-time work experience prior to applying.
  • Attend campus events: Representatives from graduate, business, law and medical schools visit campus and attend the Graduate School Fair in the fall. These are great opportunities to gather detailed program information.

Have them visit Career Services.

Career counselors can advise students about general graduate school admissions. We also offer PreLaw and Business School Advising. The Health Professions Advising Office advises all students who are pre-med or pre-health. These professionals can help students identify whether graduate study is right for them as well as which programs may best meet their needs.

Is it better to go right to graduate school or to take some time off?

There is no one answer to this question. It is important that students begin a graduate program well rested and motivated. If a student is unsure of whether he or she should go directly on to graduate school, Career Services encourages them to speak to a career counselor or health professions advisor.

Are standardized tests required?

Students must research the graduate testing requirements for their programs of interest. Information about the GRE and the LSAT is available in Career Services. MCAT details are available in the Health Professions Advising Office. If a student wants to attend graduate school in the fall following graduation, they should time their tests accordingly:

  • MCAT: The middle of junior year
  • LSAT: Spring or summer of junior year
  • GRE: Fall of senior year
  • GMAT: Since most students do not go directly to business school directly after graduation, the GMAT can be taken during junior or senior year

In general, scores for all of these tests remain valid for 5 years. 

Will letters of recommendation be needed?

Most programs require recommendations. Students should open a credentials file in the Career Services office. This file holds confidential letters of recommendation that students collect from recommenders, such as professors, advisors and work supervisors. The student can later request letters be sent to various graduate programs as part of their admission application.