Preparing for Graduate School
Information from the UMN Graduate School
As you progress through college and your early career, your professors, teaching assistants, other instructors, and academic advisors can all serve as mentors and nodes in your professional network. Look for opportunities to develop these relationships through conversations in class and at office hours, outreach and community events, and projects and sustained work together.
Field and Lab Experience
Getting first hand experience in the field or the lab can be an important step in developing skills necessary to succeed in graduate school. Your college may have summer research opportunities or part-time positions during the school year. Some applicants spend time as a research technician before they apply to graduate school. This can also be a way to develop a mentor relationship with someone who can write you a strong letter of recommendation.
If you do not have research experience but have transferable skills from work or internships, please include that in your application.
Typically, prospective students communicate with potential faculty advisors before they apply to the graduate program. Before you email a faculty member, we encourage you to explore their webpage, read their recent publications, and watch available video lectures to learn more about their research and teaching.