a book showing grad school requirements

How to Apply to Graduate School

Applying to graduate school can be a daunting task, whether you’re a senior in college or you’ve been out of school for years. While every schools’ admissions requirements will differ, this is a brief overview of what to expect when applying to grad school.


Some schools, like University of Bridgeport, may allow you to apply with an unofficial transcript and require official copies only if you’re admitted. An official copy is one that is submitted directly from one institution to another.

You may be able to apply with just the transcript from your degree granting institution; however, there may be programs that require transcripts from all schools attended. This is especially true if you’re applying for a program that leads to licensure or has prerequisites.


Graduate programs may require one or multiple letters of recommendation. These letters generally have to come directly from the reference. References should be professional: either a professor or a supervisor, and ideally someone who could speak to why you want to pursue this particular degree. For example, if you’re applying for a teacher certification program, you might list the principal of the school you’re a paraprofessional at. Above all, use someone you trust and who knows you well.

Personal Statement/Essay

A personal statement/essay requirement may have a prompt and it’s worth asking the admissions team if there is one. Generally, it will explain why you want to pursue this particular degree at this institution and what your career goals are. It should highlight experiences and qualities that make you the ideal candidate.

Writing Sample

What’s the difference between a writing sample and personal statement? A writing sample is to showcase your writing ability. This may be required if you’re applying to an MFA program or a Doctorate degree. Check with the admissions office regarding length and suggestions for subject matter.


Your resume for grad school can be similar to the one you use for jobs. In general, about 1 – 2 pages in length. If you’re fresh out off college you can list your educational experience first, including any extracurricular activities you’re involved in or important projects you’ve worked on. You can include clear headings for work experience, education, and volunteer experience. Work experience can include paid jobs, as well as internships. Try to tailor it as much as possible to the program you’re applying for with relevant skills and experiences.


Some graduate programs may require an interview process. Try not to fret! This is a chance for you to learn about the faculty and the program. Come prepared to answer basic questions about yourself, such as: Why you’re interested in this program or career path? Why you’re applying to this particular college?

And have some questions for the faculty as well. When considering graduate school, good questions to ask are: How would you describe the relationship between faculty and students? What allows students to succeed in this program? What sets this program apart from others?

Applying to graduate school does not have to be stressful. Schools, like University of Bridgeport, have a dedicated Graduate Admissions team to help students navigate the application process. Feel free to call (203-576-4552) or email (gradadmissions@bridgeport.edu) UB Grad Admissions with any questions you have!