Application Components

Online Application

As with your undergraduate application process, you will need to complete an online application for graduate schools. These applications almost always have an application fee. Keep this in mind as you are narrowing down your list of schools to apply to. This is part of the reason why we recommend that you apply to 4 schools - a dream school, two achievable schools, and one school you are certain you will get into. If you receive financial aid or have some other financial restriction, some schools may be able to offer an application fee reduction or waiver. Contact the program's admissions office for information.


You will be required to submit all previous college level transcripts (i.e., your Mercer transcript as well as transcripts for any other undergraduate institutions where you took courses, such as during the summer as a transient student, prior to Mercer if you are a transfer student, or for dual-enrollment credits during high school).

During the initial application process, some schools may accept an unofficial transcript; you can get your unofficial Mercer transcript through MyMercer while you are still a student here. In these cases, an official transcript will be required only once you have been preliminarily admitted to the program.

Letters of Recommendation

Most graduate and professional schools will require at least three letters of recommendation. Letters of recommendation can come from professors (at least one should be in your intended area of study), internship or employment supervisors (especially if that person has an advanced degree, even better if their degree is in or related to your intended area of study), or someone else who has an advanced degree in your intended area of study who knows you well and can speak to your academic and/or professional preparation (even if they did not serve as a supervisor to you; a mentor is a good choice). All of these letters should come from people who know you well. Do not have your friends, family, or notable figures write letters of recommendation for you; this is highly frowned upon and will likely be detrimental to your application.

To request a letter of recommendation, set up a time to meet with them and ask in person. Be prepared to share with them a copy of your resume and/or CV, as well as your personal statement (a draft is okay). Ask this person if they are willing to write you a strong letter of recommendation - you do not want a lukewarm or even negative letter. Give your letter writers as much time as possible - if they have a couple months to work on it, they are more likely to be willing to help you (especially if they are a professor and you ask before peak periods in the semesters). Let them know your personal deadline (when you intend to submit your application). It is a good idea to set this deadline, for yourself and your letter writers, at least a week or two prior to the program's deadline. This will give you some breathing room in case something unexpected happens.

GRE/Other Standardized Test

Nearly all graduate and professional schools require a standardized test of some variety. The most common standardized test is the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Some specific areas may require a GRE Subject Test, but most will not. Other common exams for specialized or professional schools include the GMAT, LSAT, MCAT, PCAT, DAT among others.

Personal Statement

The personal statement is a way for you to express who you are professionally and academically - your goals, aspirations, passion for your study, etc. It is a way for you to stand out by talking about what makes you unique, and to do so in your own personal voice. It is not a resume in prose. You want to talk about why you are interested in graduate study, why this particular area, why this specific program. Describe how you are prepared - academically, personally, and professionally. Discuss what you would like to achieve in graduate school, and how your experiences have led you to this point. Be specific - do not make general, sweeping statements. Give detailed examples of what you are describing, tell what you learned from those experiences, and how they apply to your future graduate or professional study. Make sure your essay is well organized. There should be a clear theme or topic, and the body of the essay should clearly support your overarching theme. A strong conclusion is equally important. How to write your personal statement has a very individualized answer because it is, well, personal.

Set up an appointment with the Pre-Graduate School Advisor to talk about and plan for your personal statement in detail. You can do that here: Book with me - Taneisha Brown