Grad School Prep | Career & Life Design Center | Fort Lewis College

Graduate School

What you’ll need to apply

Learn what you may need in order to apply to graduate and professional school programs.


  • GRE - Many graduate programs require this general graduate admissions test. It tests your verbal, quantitative, and analytical abilities. Some programs also require a subject test.
  • LSAT - Required by The American Bar Association for admission to most law schools. It measures your reading and verbal reasoning skills.
  • MCAT - Required by almost all U.S. medical schools. It tests your knowledge of biology, chemistry as well as your critical analysis and reasoning, among other sections.
  • GMAT - Graduate management programs around the world use this test. It scores your analytical writing, integrated reasoning, quantitative, and verbal abilities.


Official transcripts are available free of charge from the FLC Registrar’s Office. Plan ahead to ensure you will receive your documents by the appropriate deadlines.

Letters of recommendation

The most powerful recommendations come from people who know you well: professors, faculty advisors, internship or campus work-study supervisors, or managers.

Quick Tips

  • Choose people who know you well. Avoid the CEO trap. Unless the head of the company really knows you, this will work against you. Grad schools are more impressed by letters with specific examples that illustrate your interests and abilities.
  • Find enthusiastic recommenders. A lukewarm endorsement makes you a weaker candidate in a program’s eyes.
  • Select people who know you in different ways. Three people raving about your research skills is less effective than three individuals who can highlight three different skills like research, leadership and writing.
  • Give your recommenders plenty of time. Allow one to two months to write your letters. Check in with them after a couple of weeks or a month to ask if they need additional info. This also serves as a gentle reminder.
  • Provide everything the recommender needs. Make sure each person has the appropriate information: your resume, personal statement, and research information. Remember the correct forms, stamped and addressed envelopes, and other details specified by your target schools.
  • Say thank you. This is good manners 101. Do it for that reason alone.

Personal statements

The most effective statements hook a reader right at the start. Admissions counselors only spend one to two minutes per essay, so invite them to linger on yours with a compelling introduction. Here are additional tips:

  • Think first. Reflect on how best to tell your story and develop an outline before you start writing.
  • Tell a story. Choose a turning point, important lesson, or self-discovery that corresponds to the essay question, demonstrates why you are applying to this particular program, and shows why you are a fit. Tailor statements to each program. See Helping Students to Tell Their Stories for more advice.
  • Be you. This is your opportunity to stand out from the crowd. Authenticity is the most effective differentiator.
  • If you’re stuck, ask yourself: Who is my audience? What is my goal? Remembering these two things will help you stay true to your purpose.

Request an appointment or send us your draft so one of our advisors can review your personal statement. You may want to ask for the advisor’s email address and send your statement ahead of time. We also provide individualized writing assistance for students.

Curriculum vitae

A curriculum vitae (also known as a vita or CV) provides a comprehensive description of your academic and professional credentials and achievements. If you have a master’s or doctoral degree you will need to submit a CV when you apply for teaching or research positions at colleges, universities, or research institutions.

As an undergrad, you may use a CV to apply to graduate school or research positions. Outside the United States, many employers use the term CV instead of resume. You can find country-specific resume/CV advice and samples in GoinGlobal, an online database of industry trends, job search information and cultural advice in 40 countries.

See our career prep help for tips on crafting your CV.