Deciding on Graduate & Professional School

Congratulations, you’ve made it this far! Perhaps you’ve started to hear back from schools on whether or not you have been accepted or waitlisted for their programs during this application cycle. There are many factors to consider when deciding which graduate or professional school to attend, including revisiting and/or establishing criteria on what is important to you in a graduate or professional school experience.

Some considerations when deciding: 

  • Have they offered you funding (i.e. scholarships, fellowships, grants, assistantships) and/or will funding be available in the future?
  • Do faculty members of interest have spots available to supervise or advise your research?
  • What information did you gain during the application or interview process that may impact your decision?
  • Have your own interests, criteria, and/or life circumstances changed since you applied that affects if or where you want to attend?

Connecting with schools and programs:

If you did not already visit schools prior to applying or as part of an interview during the application phase, you will likely want to connect with the program in some way. 

  • Schedule a visit with the program. Set up appointments ahead of time to talk with faculty, current students, and graduate or professional school coordinators and to tour the campus and facilities.
  • Connect with current graduate students or alumni and departmental offices through social media, email, or other sources.
  • Revisit information that is available online through the school and departmental websites or other resources.
  • Discuss your plans with career counselors, faculty, advisors, mentors, and other important people in your life.

Ultimately the decision on which program to attend is an individualized decision. Applying to, getting accepted into, and deciding on graduate or professional school is a big undertaking. For graduate school, you will generally need to let the program know of your decision by April 15, however, check with your specific program(s) to see if they have earlier deadlines. Similar to other stages of the graduate or professional school process, you can meet with a career counselor to discuss your thoughts, concerns, or questions.

If you did not receive an offer from a school that you are interested in this year, you can meet with a career counselor to reassess your goals or plan next steps. Would you rather wait and see if you can gain acceptance into your top choice school? Do you want more time to seek out additional funding options? Are there additional programs you would like to apply to? Or have you developed new interests since you originally applied?


It is not uncommon for individuals to not gain acceptance during their first application round. If you are interested in reapplying to programs in the future, gather any information you can on how to strengthen your application and how to reapply. Some suggestions may be seeking out additional experience in your field (i.e. shadowing/observation hours, patient care experience), improving grades or test scores, seeking additional assistance on your statement(s) or interviewing skills, applying earlier in the cycle, or other factors important to the program. There may also be additional programs of interest that you did not originally consider. You should be commended on making it this far, regardless of the outcome - and remember that career services are available to you as an alum throughout your career!