Deciding To Apply
As you did with your undergraduate planning, it is of utmost importance to evaluate your qualifications against the statistics of each program on your potential list of target schools. There is ample information about GPA’s, standardized test score ranges, academic or employment prerequisites, internships, research experience, rankings, etc. to give you a clear picture of the programs of interest.
Just as you probably did as a prospective undergraduate, you will establish a list of schools consisting of “stretch” choices, along with those departments to which you are likely to be admitted. Rule of thumb: If your credentials place you in the bottom third (or lower) of admitted students, it is a “stretch” school. On the other hand, if you are at or above the mean credential level of admitted students, your chances for admission increase.
We at Entablature recommend that you peruse the many graduate school guides that populate most major bookstores. There you will find most of the information that you’ll need to make some good decisions about applying. More importantly, however, are the suggestions by professors who know you well. They will be penning your recommendations, and are not likely to recommend a program that they know to be inappropriate for you.
But the best thing that you can do is visit as many departments as possible. Talk to students, administrators and professors when you are there: The more the better. You will glean as much from what you are told as you will discern between the lines. Both classes of information are crucial because together you have a good sense of the departments.
In today’s world, we at Entablature believe that ten schools is an ample number for a student who has carefully undertaken everything that we have discussed thus far.