Preparing for Graduate School

Thinking about graduate school? Use these tips to decide whether to pursue advanced studies and to find a program that is a great fit.

Preparing for a Teaching Career

Many English and Creative Writing students pursue advanced degrees in these fields upon completion of the B.A. and these graduates go on to teach at institutions of higher learning. In order to teach at a university or four-year college, a terminal degree such as a Ph.D. or an MFA is necessary. To teach in a community college one must obtain at least a Master’s Degree, although a Ph.D. makes employment more likely.

Connect with Professors

If you are thinking about applying to graduate programs there are several steps you should take. First make an appointment with the professors who have been important in guiding your undergraduate studies. Instructors who know you well and who are familiar with the different programs available in your desired area of study will be most helpful.

Discuss the kind of degree and program you wish to pursue. Make sure to ask these professors if they would be willing to write you a letter of recommendation for the schools you would like to attend. It is wise to ask for recommendations at least a month before the deadline, if not earlier. You can also make an appointment with the Director of Undergraduate Studies to discuss graduate degree options.

Explore Programs

Next, you should go online and look at the course offerings, faculty and other specifics of the programs that interest you. You may apply online to many institutions but some require hard copy sent by mail. Check to see if the institutions that interest you require the GRE and if they do, be sure that you take it in a timely manner so that scores will arrive with your application package. Don’t forget that an excellent writing sample is crucial for acceptance to programs, so think ahead and begin revising a writing sample ahead of time.


The English Undergraduate Advising Office offers various resources for graduate school applicants, including the AWP Writer’s Guide.

Other online resources include: